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Taiwan Defends Tsai’s Meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy News

Taiwan rejected Chinese threats over a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, abandoning its dovish approach to launch a rhetorical barrage comparing China to the Soviet Union of the Cold War era.

“Evil is powerless if the good are fearless,” Chang Tun-han, deputy secretary general of Taiwan’s presidential office, said, citing a 1983 speech by the late US President Ronald Reagan.

“The 23 million Taiwanese have the right to have exchanges with democratic nations and there is no room for China to comment,” Chang told reporters during Tsai’s trip to Belize, one of Taiwan’s 13 remaining diplomatic allies.

The forceful statement came after China’s Foreign Ministry warned that it would “take resolute steps to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has repeatedly threatened to attack the island if Taipei refuses to submit to its control.

McCarthy’s office confirmed Monday that the meeting, first reported by the Financial Times last month, will take place Wednesday at the Reagan Library in California’s Simi Valley.

Tsai and her delegation expected to meet with McCarthy “and a bipartisan group of lawmakers,” Chang said.

The meeting will mark the highlight of a 10-day trip during which Tsai hopes to affirm Taiwan’s ability to engage in foreign relations and strengthen US support in the face of rising tensions with Beijing.

China is expected to react with another round of military exercises. Following Tsai’s departure from Taipei last week, the Chinese government warned that it would regard a meeting with McCarthy as “another provocation” that would “sabotage peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and vowed to “resolutely strike back.”

A fierce Chinese military reaction would derail Tsai’s efforts to reduce tensions in the Straits. Last year, McCarthy vowed to fly to Taiwan, following a visit in August by his predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, who at the time became the first Speaker of the US House of Representatives to make the trip. in 25 years.

Beijing punished Taipei for harboring Pelosi by conducting unprecedented military exercises for a week, simulating a blockade of the country and firing missiles over its airspace, some of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Since those drills, the People’s Liberation Army has conducted air and naval exercises on a larger scale and closer to Taiwan than before Pelosi’s visit.

In an effort to avoid such a scenario, Tsai last month convinced McCarthy to postpone a visit to Taiwan and instead suggested meeting in the US during their previously planned overseas tour.

During Tsai’s two-day transit through New York last week on his way to Central American diplomatic allies Guatemala and Belize, the PLA carried out 10 sorties across the unofficial median line of the Taiwan Strait, which both sides they had largely respected for decades, but Beijing claimed to have “erased” it in last year’s maneuvers.

While the PLA conducts sorties into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on an almost daily basis, it reserves midline crossings for occasions when China wants to air its strong discontent with Taiwan’s or other countries’ interactions with it.

Tsai is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on Tuesday night and return to Taiwan on Thursday.



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