Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen convinced House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to meet her in California instead of Taipei to avoid a major response from China, Financial Times reported on Monday.
McCarthy was planning to visit Taiwan like his predecessor, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), did last August. Pelosi’s trip to the island sparked the largest-ever Chinese military drills around Taiwan, and they have kept up the pressure since.
But now McCarthy and Tsai will meet in the US in a move meant to avoid a similar Chinese reaction. “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 Financial Times.
Tsai’s plan still risks provoking a response as China opposes Taiwanese leaders traveling to the US. She last made the trip in 2019, and at the time, China’s response was said to be muted. But tensions between the US and China over Taiwan have significantly increased since then, making a harsher Chinese response possible.
The Financial Times report said that Tsai plans to make the trip in April and will visit New York and California as part of a trip to Central America. Honduras and Guatemala both still maintain formal relations with Taiwan. Only 13 countries and the Vatican have full diplomatic ties with Taipei.