On Monday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office confirmed the details of his upcoming meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen when she visits California on Wednesday, CNN reported.
McCarthy will host a bipartisan delegation to meet with President Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library along with the leaders of the House select committee on China and California Democrat Rep. Pete Aguilar, according to the invitation list.
President Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy was confirmed by her office, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency.
While the meeting has long been expected, it is likely to upset the already tense relationship between Washington and Beijing, which became even more volatile after the US shot down the Chinese spy balloon that had traveled across the continental United States in early February.
The White House refuses to say if it supports McCarthy’s meeting with President Tsai. When asked about the meeting aboard Air Force One on Monday, principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton referred reporters to the Speaker’s office for details.
When arriving in New York City last week, President Tsai said her country’s relationship with the US has “never been closer.” She said Taiwan is stronger when it stands “in solidarity” with other democracies.
Last week, Xu Xueyuan, China’s charge d’affaires, told reporters that President Tsai’s presence in the United States might lead to a “serious confrontation” in China’s relationship with the United States, severely impacting the ties between the two countries.
Last year, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, marking the first visit by a Speaker of the House in 25 years.
Pelosi’s visit was met with pushback from Beijing, with China responding by launching military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
Then-Speaker Pelosi said at the time that the purpose of her visit was to make it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would not abandon Taiwan.