US House speaker Kevin McCarthy will meet with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, despite warnings from Beijing that such a meeting would be a “provocation”.
Tsai is slated to make a stopover in California after visiting Taiwan’s last remaining Central American diplomatic allies in Belize and Guatemala. McCarthy’s office announced Monday that the “bipartisan” meeting would be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, located outside of Los Angeles.
McCarthy, as speaker of the House of Representatives, is the most senior Republican lawmaker and, after vice-president Kamala Harris, is second in line for the US presidency.
In response, the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles stated on Tuesday that it “firmly opposed” Tsai’s US transits and that the meeting is “not conducive to regional peace, security and stability.”
The meeting will “greatly hurt the national feelings of 1.4 billion Chinese people” and undermine “the political foundation of China-US relations,” according to a statement from the Chinese consulate.
China will “resolutely and vigorously defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity” according to the spokesperson.
The United States, which supports Taiwan’s defense but does not recognize it as a country, has stated that Tsai’s stopovers are routine and warned Beijing against using them as an excuse for hostile behavior.