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Citing rising tensions between the U.S., China, and Taipei, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has convinced House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) not to visit Taipei in the coming weeks as originally planned, but rather to hold the meeting between the two leaders in California instead.
The downgraded trip to Taiwan is a backtrack for McCarthy, who had said last summer that he would visit the island nation if elected Speaker of the House. However, with tensions escalating between Beijing and Washington over the war in Ukraine and China invading Taiwan's sovereignty with continuous sail-throughs and flyovers, McCarthy and Tsai agreed to hold their upcoming meeting on U.S. soil so as not to cause further provocation with Beijing.
Washington has been split as to whether or not McCarthy should visit Taipei. Several in D.C. believe the Speaker should show support for Taiwan by visiting the country in defiance of China's recent rising aggression. However, others have warned that a more cautious approach is necessary as high-profile visits could provoke Beijing and do more harm for Taiwan than good.
According to a Taiwanese official, McCarthy's team received "some intelligence about what the Chinese Communist party is recently up to and the kinds of threats they pose." The official added that China is "not in a good situation."
A visit to Taiwan in August by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) enraged China. It was the first trip to Taiwan made by a U.S. Speaker in 25 years and was not well received by Beijing. In response to Pelosi's visit, the CCP held expansive military exercises and launched ballistic missiles over the country for the first time in history.
"There might be policies even more irrational than in the past emanating from Beijing," the Taiwanese official added. "If we can try to control this together, the risks it brings for everybody can be contained better," the official concluded.
Despite the U.S. recently downplaying indications of an imminent Chinese attack on Taiwan, the Biden administration has been ramping up contingency planning with U.S. allies.
On four separate occasions over the past 4 years, President Joe Biden has said that the U.S. would intervene if Beijing launched an unprovoked attack on Taiwan.
McCarthy has called Taiwan's concerns about a Chinese provocation "reasonable."
"This will accomplish McCarthy's objective of elevating the issue and demonstrating he is willing to meet her, but the nature of the meeting physically happening in the U.S. instead of Taiwan will also make it more difficult for Beijing to respond in the same provocative way like they did after the Pelosi visit," explained Eric Sayers, an Asia expert at the American Enterprise Institute.
Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-Cheng warned on Monday that the PLA was "looking for pretexts like foreign senior officials visiting or us conducting military exchanges with other countries," to use as an excuse to take more aggressive action toward Taiwan.
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Having the meeting elsewhere will not change China; they will still be mad. What will they do this time...shoot a missle over OUR country ?!?! If they do that, WHAT WILL OBIDEN DO ?!?!