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Taiwanese leader’s visit to US could provoke ‘big’ reaction from China

The flags of the United States and Taiwan displayed on phone screens are seen in this multiple exposure illustration photo taken in Poland on August 4, 2022.

Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images

A meeting between the Taiwanese leader and the speaker of the United States House of Representatives will provoke a strong reaction from China, said Anna Ashton, China director of the Eurasia Group.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will likely meet Kevin McCarthy during her transit visit to Los Angeles next week. Tsai is currently on a 10-day trip to visit Central American allies Belize and Guatemala.

The meeting with McCarthy has not been officially confirmed.

“The reality is that McCarthy is third to the presidency. A meeting like this would be the highest official US meeting ever with a sitting Taiwanese president on US soil,” Aston told “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday. from CNBC.

“Beijing has already warned against its opposition to this meeting and we could see a reaction, even as important as the reaction after Pelosi’s visit.”

The crossing of China’s red lines by the United States could push China into a situation where it feels compelled to use force and act more assertively.

Anna Ashton

China Director at Eurasia Group

Thorny relationships

Relations between the United States and China have deteriorated, analysts warn. Next week’s meeting between Tsai and McCarthy will likely add to the already growing tensions.

China has repeatedly said that the issue with Taiwan is an internal matter. Beijing claims the self-governing island is part of its territory and argues that Taiwan should not have the right to conduct foreign relations.

The Biden administration was keen to play down Tsai’s last transit, calling it “unofficial.”

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“In all previous transits, she has met with members of Congress, as well as state and local officials, and made public appearances,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, during a press briefing.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had strong words for the United States

“The trip is not so much a ‘transit’ as an attempt to seek breakthroughs and spread ‘Taiwan independence,'” spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday. “The problem is not China’s overreaction, but the United States’ blatant complicity with and support for ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists.”

Cross the red lines

Beijing has consistently warned that Taiwan is the “first red line” not to cross.

Ashton stressed that it is important to note that China has often said that it prefers long-term peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

“Time is on China’s side and always has been – except for the fact that the United States has become a little less predictable,” the analyst said.

“The crossing of China’s red lines by the United States could push China into a situation where it feels compelled to use force and act more assertively because it is protecting what it considers as its interests against an American effort to block them.”


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