House leader, Taiwan president hold historic meeting in US

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen are beginning a historic high-level meeting on U.S. soil

Michael Blood,Lisa Mascaro,Ellen Knickmeyer
Wednesday 05 April 2023 17:57 BST

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy welcomed Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen for a historic meeting on U.S. soil Wednesday, underscoring U.S. lawmakers' growing support for her self-ruled island as tensions rise with rival China.

McCarthy greeted Tsai on her arrival at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California.

Tsai, making the most sensitive stop on a weeklong journey meant to shore up alliances in the U.S. and Central America, was to meet with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

China views any interaction between U.S. and Taiwanese officials as a challenge to its claim to the island as its territory, and has reacted to past meetings with shows of force and by pulling back on dialogue with the United States. China responded to a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan last August with its largest live-fire drills in decades, included firing a missile over the island.

Angry Chinese officials have pledged a sharp but unspecified response to the meeting with McCarthy.

The United States broke off official ties with Taiwan in 1979 while formally establishing diplomatic relations with the Beijing government. While the U.S. acknowledges the “one-China” policy in which Beijing lays claim to Taiwan, it does not endorse China’s claim to the island and remains Taiwan’s key provider of military and defense assistance.

Wednesday's session is the first known meeting between a House speaker and a Taiwanese president on American territory since the U.S. broke off formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.


Mascaro and Knickmeyer reported from Washington.


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