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House Speaker McCarthy States ‘Unwavering’ US Support for Taiwan

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen meets U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, April 5, 2023.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen meets U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, April 5, 2023.

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledged “resolute, unwavering and bipartisan” support for Taiwan after he held talks Wednesday with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in California.

“I believe our bond is stronger now than at any time or point in my lifetime,” he said at a joint news conference with Tsai.

Wednesday’s meeting included a bipartisan congressional delegation.

“Their presence and unwavering support reassure the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated. And we are not alone,” Tsai said.

She also warned that military threats from China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, “cannot be understated.” She said Taiwan seeks “a peaceful status quo” and “strives to be a reliable partner to the world.”

US House Speaker, Taiwan President Meet Despite China Threats
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The talks prompted opposition from China. Beijing announced a joint cruise and patrol operation in the north-central part of the Taiwan Strait, while the People’s Liberation Army said it had deployed two destroyers and a frigate to the East China Sea for live-fire drills.

Both operations were believed to be a rebuke to Taiwan for Tsai’s two stopovers in the United States in less than a week.

“This is not our intention to escalate,” McCarthy told reporters. “We want to continue to build and foster democracy and freedom. There should be no fear.”

Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton, a member of the House Select Committee on China, told VOA that Wednesday’s meeting was about furthering U.S.-Taiwan cooperation.

“Our shared goal is to prevent a war over Taiwan, which Xi Jinping has said that he wants. So that means deterrence on a broad range of issues: military deterrence, but also economic deterrence, trade policy, a lot of different ways that we can strengthen our allied relationships in Southeast Asia,” Moulton said.

Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson told VOA that the two sides discussed “peace through strength.”

“How can the United States continue to support our friend and ally in Taiwan, but how can we also help foster other relationships around the world that will strengthen economic prosperity for not only Taiwan, but for our country and others as well,” Hinson said.

U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic minority leader in the House of Representatives, said he also met with Tsai last week in New York.

"We had a very productive conversation about the mutual security and economic interests between America and Taiwan,” Jeffries said. “We also discussed our shared commitment to democracy and freedom.”

Jeffries said in a statement that his meeting with Tsai “is consistent with and represents no deviation from the longstanding unofficial relationship between the United States and Taiwan.”

The U.S. has a “One China” policy, which acknowledges that Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of China. But it nonetheless sends military aid to the self-governed island to help it defend itself.

U.S. President Joe Biden has frequently said the U.S. would militarily defend Taiwan if China were to invade it, although the U.S. has quickly said its One China policy has not changed.

But Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the ranking member on the House Select Committee on China, said the Chinese Communist Party’s promise to provide a one-China, two-systems policy if they reunify with Taiwan does not appear to be compatible after the world watched how the system was implemented in Hong Kong.

“That's why our bond with the Taiwanese people is unshakable. We will always support them in defending their freedom,” Krishnamoorthi said.

McCarthy told reporters he would like to see the Biden administration speed up its transfer of weapons delivery systems to Taiwan.

VOA’s Mandarin Service contributed to this report. Some information came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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