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‘We Are Not Isolated’: Taiwan’s President and Kevin McCarthy Defy Chinese Bullying at California Meeting

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met today in California, a historic first meeting on American soil between a U.S. official of McCarthy’s seniority and Taiwan’s head of state.

Addressing reporters at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library following the meeting with McCarthy, Tsai thanked Congress, and the members who joined today’s events, for their support of Taiwan.

“Their presence and unwavering support reassure the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated, and we are not alone,” said Tsai, who spent the previous several days visiting Guatemala, Belize, and New York.

In his remarks, McCarthy called Taiwan “a successful democracy, a thriving economy, and a global leader in health and science” and hailed the bipartisan nature of America’s support for Taiwan.

Ironically, the California summit was initially intended as a lower-profile substitute for a meeting between McCarthy and Tsai in Taiwan, with Taipei reportedly selling the speaker on the lower-key option of meeting in the United States. Following former House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last August, the Chinese military lobbed rockets and missiles into the seas surrounding Taiwan and intensified its activities involving ships and fighter jets nearby.

Over the past few weeks, Beijing has worked assiduously to stop today’s meeting from happening.

According to Taiwanese media reports, Chinese diplomatic outposts in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles worked to pay and mobilize Beijing-backed groups and gangs to tail Tsai around her New York and Los Angeles meetings. Today in California, pro-China demonstrators squared off against people who came out to support Tsai in the parking lot of the Reagan Presidential Library.

Meanwhile, Chinese government spokespeople and propaganda outlets made vague threats about Beijing’s response were the meeting to go forward. Thus far, though, besides sending an aircraft carrier into the Western Pacific, China’s People’s Liberation Army has not engaged in activities similar to those it undertook after Pelosi’s visit.

The Chinese embassy in Washington also wrote to multiple members of Congress, including Representative Carlos Gimenez, who planned to join the meeting with Tsai, urging them to abandon their plans and threatening that China would not “sit idly by.”

But in the end, the congressional delegation sat for a meeting with the Taiwanese president, and Tsai’s team publicized a series of meetings that she took with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and a bipartisan group of senators during her visit to New York last week.

During that part of her visit, she also delivered a message to a small group of U.S. political insiders at an event hosted by the Hudson Institute.

“Our strategy, while also making the [military] preparations, is to tell [China] that is very costly and these nonmilitary means that you are taking are not going to be useful,” she said, according to the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, who attended the speech.

“So Taiwan and the rest of the world have to get together to find a way to tell the Chinese that war is not an option.”

Source: National Review