US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen plan to meet in California rather than Taipei in a bid to avoid an aggressive response from Beijing to a meeting on the island.
McCarthy, a California Republican who became Speaker in January, had said last summer that he intended to visit Taiwan if he was appointed.
But he and Tsai have now agreed to meet in California instead, in a move designed to avoid a demonstration of force by the People’s Liberation Army similar to when then-speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.
“We shared some intelligence about what the Chinese Communist party is recently up to and the kinds of threats they pose,” a senior Taiwanese official said about information Taipei had provided to McCarthy’s team.
The official said China was “not in a good situation right now” and that it seemed more and more decisions would be made by Xi and his inner circle.
Pelosi’s visit was only the second Taiwan visit by a Speaker since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Tsai will visit both California and New York in early April as part of a trip to Central America. She has also decided to accept an invitation to speak at the Reagan Library in southern California, according to several people including a senior Taiwanese official.
McCarthy’s office declined to comment. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute confirmed that they had invited Tsai to speak.
The People’s Republic of China claims Taiwan as its territory although it has never ruled the island.