The president of Taiwan will stop in the United States for a series of meetings with U.S. officials, despite furious reactions from Beijing.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will briefly visit New York and Los Angeles on her way to visit Central American allies Guatemala and Belize.
Her trip is expected to include a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — a diplomatic event that echoes former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s norm-shattering visit to the island.
Tsai’s visit to the U.S. — and particularly her planned meeting with McCarthy — has drawn intense backlash from the People’s Republic of China.
“We are gravely concerned over this and have made serious démarches to the U.S. side demanding clarification,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Wednesday in a press conference.
She added, “The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations. Separatism for Taiwan independence is as incompatible with peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait as fire with water.”
Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, is an island nation off the coast of the mainland. Taiwan has declared itself independent of the People’s Republic of China and has claimed continuation of governance from the pre-revolutionary China.
The People’s Republic of China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.
Taiwan responded to China’s outrage on Thursday, saying the mainland had “no right” to weigh in on the diplomatic meeting.
“China has no right to finger-point about our contacts and interactions with other countries,” Taiwanese Department of North American Affairs head Douglas Hsu said on Thursday. “President Tsai is the head of the Republic of China in Taiwan, and it is unbearable for China to smear her with foul intention.”
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang said Tuesday that his country and the U.S. are heading for “conflict and confrontation” due to American cooperation with Taiwan.
“If the United States does not hit the brake — but continues to speed down the wrong path — no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there will surely be conflict and confrontation and who will bear the catastrophic consequences?” Qin continued. “Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity.”