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Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy on Monday confirmed a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, despite threats of “retaliations” from China, which sees it as “a provocation” on the part of the United States.
It is an interview rich in symbols for Taiwan but which makes the Chinese authorities jump. Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy on Monday (April 3) confirmed a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, despite threats of reprisals from China.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in the suburbs of Los Angeles, at the Ronald Reagan presidential library, with several other elected members of Congress, said Speaker McCarthy’s team in a press release on Monday.
China has promised to “retaliate” to a possible meeting between the two officials.
Beijing believes Taiwan, with a population of 24 million, is one of its provinces it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
She sees with dissatisfaction the rapprochement at work in recent years between the Taiwanese authorities and the United States, which has provided the island with military support against Beijing for several decades.
The principle of “one China” threatened, according to Beijing
Tsai Ing-wen’s stops in the United States come at a key time, as Beijing has increased military, economic and diplomatic pressure on the island.
Taiwan is now only recognized by 13 countries.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, in power since 2016, embarked on the diplomatic tour to strengthen the island’s diplomatic ties with its allies, just days after severing ties with Honduras.
After a first stop in New York on Wednesday, the President of Taiwan traveled to Guatemala and Belize. These countries thus become the stakes of a diplomatic showdown with Beijing.
In the name of its “one China” principle, no country is supposed to maintain official ties with Beijing and Taipei at the same time.
“A usual practice”, says Washington
Washington, which nevertheless granted its diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979, is the most powerful ally of the island as well as its main supplier of arms.
Last August, the visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, then president of the American House of Representatives, provoked the ire of Beijing.
China had retaliated with very large military exercises around the island – an unprecedented show of force.
“We urge the United States not to continue playing with fire on the Taiwan question (…) Those who play with fire will perish by fire. This is not a threat”, hammered in Washington Xu Xueyuan, Charge d’Affaires at the Chinese Embassy.
“China has absolutely no reason to over-react to this usual practice,” replied American diplomacy last week.