On Wednesday, China threatened to retaliate if US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen during her planned visit to the United States next month.
China claims democratically-rule Taiwan as its own territory and has repeatedly warned US officials not to meet President Tsai. Apparently, China views the close ties between the US officials and Tsai as support for the island’s desire to be seen as a separate country.
In August last year, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei the capital of Taiwan, China staged war games around the island, showcasing its decisiveness regarding Taiwan’s foreign affairs, and opposing US support for the island to become an independent state.
This comes as Tsai is expected to travel to Guatemala and Belize on Wednesday for an official visit that will see her transit through New York and Los Angeles. According to unconfirmed sources, she will meet McCarthy while in California, at the end of her trip.
“If Tsai has contact with US House Speaker McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, harms China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said.
The US-China relations have soured over a range of issues in the past months. China describes American officials’ intentions to support Taiwan to become a separate country as a provocative, and clear interference in Taiwan’s internal affairs.
Moreover, the United States and Western governments criticized China for not condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has accused of possibly supplying arms to Russian forces in their struggle in the Ukraine conflict.
On February 5, the US fighter jets shot down a giant Chinese air balloon believed to be spying on key military sites across America. The move prompted strong dissatisfaction and protest from the Chinese Defense Minister against the US’s use of force to attack civilian unmanned aircraft.