Rep. Auchincloss Doesn’t Care That His Trip to Taiwan Angered China

Auchincloss was part of a bipartisan congressional delegation to Taiwan led by Rep. Ro Khanna

China expressed it was unhappy over the latest congressional visit to Taiwan in a letter to Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), who was part of the bipartisan delegation that was led by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

“It was reported that Congressman Jake Auchincloss recently visited Taiwan and met with Tsai Ing-wen, Lai Ching-te and other high-level officials in Taiwan,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington told Auchincloss, according to the letter that was obtained by The Daily Beast. “I am writing to express serious concern on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC.”

In response, Auchincloss said he didn’t care if the visit angered China. “They’re angry. I don’t care. We’re going to stand with freedom and democracy wherever it is in the world, in Ukraine, in Taiwan, and on the streets of Tehran,” he told the Beast. “We can’t flinch just because the CCP is angry.”

China has made clear that it views congressional visits to Taiwan as a challenge to the one-China policy. Beijing’s strong objection to the growing ties between the US and Taiwanese governments was demonstrated last August when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited the island, and China responded by launching its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan.

Rep. Khanna supported Pelosi’s visit but insisted in comments to the media that his bipartisan delegation, which returned to Washington on Friday, shouldn’t have increased tensions. When asked by NPR in an interview published on February 23 if he was concerned that the visit would provoke China, Khanna said, “I don’t think so, and fortunately, so far, it has not.”

The same day, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported an uptick in Chinese military flights around the island, although it’s not clear if it was a response to the congressional visit. The ministry said 12 of the aircraft crossed the median line that separates the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial barrier China used to avoid crossing before Pelosi’s visit.

Khanna said that he reaffirmed the one-China policy while he was in Taiwan and that he contacted Chinese officials about his visit. “I informed the Chinese ambassador, as well as the foreign minister … But I affirm the one-China policy that has been our legacy since President Carter and since the Shanghai communique negotiated by Nixon,” he said.

The Chinese embassy made it clear in the letter to Auchincloss that it still viewed the delegation as an affront to the one-China policy. “The one-China principle is part of the postwar international order and has become a general international consensus, the essence of which is that there is only one China in the world, the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China’s territory, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China,” the embassy said. “China will not allow Taiwan to be divided from it in whatever form.”

Both Khanna and Auchincloss are part of a new committee on China that was formed when Republicans took over the House. While Khanna sounds more diplomatic toward Beijing than most in Congress, his colleagues do not.

Before Khanna’s delegation visited Taiwan, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), another member of the China committee, said members of the panel would be visiting the island soon and acknowledged it would “infuriate” Beijing.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.