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President Tsai meets U.S. speaker McCarthy in California

04/06/2023 01:19 AM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (left) meets with United States House speaker Kevin McCarthy (right) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday. (image taken from
President Tsai Ing-wen (left) meets with United States House speaker Kevin McCarthy (right) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday. (image taken from

Los Angeles, April 5 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) met with United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a historic meeting in California on Wednesday morning (U.S. time) despite Beijing's repeated protests.

Tsai, who landed in California on Tuesday evening, arrived around 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, where she was greeted by McCarthy amid a heavy media presence.

Tsai and McCarthy then met behind closed doors, the first-ever meeting between a Taiwanese president and a U.S. house speaker on American soil, and the third time a Taiwan president met with a U.S. House speaker since the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name) and the United States ended official diplomatic relations in 1979.

According to McCarthy's office, the two will issue a joint statement after the meeting ends at noon. Lawmakers who attended the meeting will then hold a press conference at around 2 p.m..

Eighteen other members of Congress from both McCarthy's Republican Party and the Democratic Party were expected to be part of the meeting.

They include Pete Aguilar, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi, both of whom sit on a newly formed House committee on China.

The meeting took place eight months after McCarthy's predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, briefly visited Taiwan in early August 2022 and met with Tsai at the Presidential Office.

The trip by Pelosi, the first sitting U.S. House speaker to have visited Taiwan in 25 years after Newt Gingrich's visit in 1997, prompted China to launch week-long large-scale military drills around Taiwan and suspend the imports of dozens of Taiwanese agricultural and food products.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan is part of Chinese territory and opposes any official interactions between Taipei and Washington, has repeatedly raised objections to the meeting between Tsai and McCarthy.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning (毛寧) told a press briefing earlier this week that Beijing would "take resolute measures" to protect its national interests should the two meet.

Shortly before Tsai arrived in Los Angeles, after visiting New York, Guatemala, and Belize as part of a 10-day overseas trip, China announced a three-day drill in the Taiwan Strait that it characterized as a "joint cruise and patrol special operation."

The Tsai-McCarthy meeting in the U.S. was reported to have been proposed by the Tsai administration as an alternative to a meeting in Taiwan, which Taipei feared could have triggered a more aggressive response by Beijing.

McCarthy had previously pledged to visit Taiwan if elected House speaker, but he said at a press conference in early February, about a month after winning the speakership following several rounds of voting, that he was not planning a trip to Taiwan.

(By Teng Pei-ju)


> Chinese Version

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