House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will meet Taiwan’s premier in California, seemingly backtracking on plans to visit the self-governed island to avoid provoking China, the Financial Times reported.
GOP Rep. McCarthy of California promised in the summer he would travel to Taiwan if elected Speaker of the House, according to the FT.
However, he and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen agreed to meet in California instead to avoid provoking a similar response from China when former speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taipei in August.
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“We shared some intelligence about what the Chinese Communist party is recently up to and the kinds of threats they pose,” a senior Taiwanese official told the FT when asked about the intelligence Taiwan provided to McCarthy’s office.
China is “not in a good situation right now,” the official added. Increasingly, decisions about China’s military are being made by General Secretary Xi Jinping and his inner circle, the official said.
Tsai will make stops in California and New York during a visit to Central America, which could come as early as April, according to the FT.
Preparations and pledges of war from both the U.S. and China accompanied Pelosi’s August visit to Taipei, amid rumors the Pentagon attempted to dissuade the politician from making the trip.
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China staged the largest-to-date military drills around Taiwan as a response to what Beijing described as an incursion on its sovereignty. While Taiwan is self-governing and democratic, it is not recognized as a sovereign country, and Beijing has threatened to “reunify” with the island by force if necessary.
China nearly doubled the number of fighter jets, bombers and support aircraft incursions into Taiwan’s claimed airspace in 2022 compared to the year prior, according to AFP, as Beijing grows more explicit in its desire to absorb Taiwan — by force if necessary — and the U.S. sounds the alarm on China’s growing military influence in the Pacific region.
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