WORLD

China vows ‘forceful’ measures after US-Taiwan meeting

Apr 6, 2023, 12:22 AM

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, shakes hands with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen a...

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, shakes hands with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after delivering statements to the press after a Bipartisan Leadership Meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, April 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China vowed reprisals against Taiwan Thursday after a meeting between the U.S. House Speaker and the island’s President, saying the U.S. was on a “wrong and dangerous road.”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy hosted Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday in a show of U.S. support for the self-ruled island, which China claims as its own, along with a bi-partisan delegation of more than a dozen U.S. lawmakers.

The Biden administration has said there is nothing provocative about the visit by Tsai, which is the latest of a half-dozen to the U.S. Yet, it comes as as the U.S.-China relationship has fallen to historic lows, with U.S. support for Taiwan becoming one of the main points of difference between the two powers.

But the formal trappings of the meeting, and the senior rank of some of the elected officials in the delegation from Congress, could lead China to view it as an escalation. No speaker is known to have met with a Taiwan president on U.S. soil since the U.S. broke off formal diplomatic relations in 1979.

In response to the meeting, Beijing said it would take “resolute and forceful measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” in a statement issued early Thursday morning by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It urged the U.S. “not to walk further down a wrong and dangerous road.”

By Thursday afternoon, there was no overt sign of a large-scale military response as of Thursday afternoon as China had done previously.

“We will take resolute measures to punish the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their actions, and resolutely safeguard our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said a statement from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Thursday morning, referring to Tsai and her political party as separatists.

Chinese vessels were engaged in a joint patrol and inspection operation in the Taiwan Strait that will last three days, state media said Thursday morning. The Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said its ship, the Haixun 06, would inspect cargo ships and others in the waters which run between Taiwan and China as part of this operation.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday evening it had tracked the China’s Shandong aircraft carrier passing through the Bashi Strait, to Taiwan’s southeast. On Thursday morning, it tracked three People’s Liberation Army navy vessels and one warplane in the area around the island.

The PLA regularly flies warplanes towards Taiwan and sends navy ships around the island in a pressure campaign that has escalated in recent years.

U.S. Congressional visits to Taiwan have stepped up in frequency in the last year, with the American Institute in Taipei, the de facto embassy announcing the arrival of another delegation Thursday.

House Foreign Affairs Committee head Michael McCaul of Texas is leading a delegation of eight other lawmakers for a three-day visit to discuss regional security and trade, according to a statement from AIT.

At the Wednesday meeting, Tsai and McCarthy spoke carefully to avoid unnecessarily escalating tensions with Beijing. The two, standing side by side at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, acknowledged China’s threats against the island government.

“America’s support for the people of Taiwan will remain resolute, unwavering and bipartisan,” McCarthy said at a news conference later. He also said U.S.-Taiwan ties are stronger than at any other point in his life.

Tsai said the “unwavering support reassures the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated.”

More than a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including the House’s third-ranking Democrat, had joined the meeting.

During Tsai and McCarthy’s meeting they spoke of the importance of Taiwan’s self-defense, of fostering robust trade and economic ties and supporting the island government’s ability to participate in the international community, Tsai said.

But she also warned, “It is no secret that today the peace that we have maintained and the democracy which have worked hard to build are facing unprecedented challenges.”

“We once again find ourselves in a world where democracy is under threat and the urgency of keeping the beacon of freedom shining cannot be understated.”

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

The U.S. also has a policy of strategic ambiguity, where it does not explicitly say whether it will come to Taiwan’s aid in the case of a conflict with China.

Last summer, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiwan to meet with Tsai. China has reacted to past trips by Taiwanese presidents through the U.S., and to past trips to Taiwan by senior U.S. officials, with shows of military force. After Pelosi’s visit, China responded with its largest live-fire drills in decades, including firing a missile over the island.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war and have no official relations, although they are linked by billions of dollars in trade and investment.

World

Drivers are stranded due to flood waters blocking the Don Valley Parkway following heavy rain in To...

Associated Press

Flooding on highway in Toronto as torrential rain hits city

TORONTO (AP) — A major highway, several thoroughfares and a key transit hub were flooded in Canada’s largest city on Tuesday after torrential rain hit Toronto, while power outages were reported in multiple areas. Toronto police said part of the Don Valley Parkway, which runs from the north part of the city into the downtown […]

1 day ago

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Yekaterinbur...

Associated Press

US journalist Evan Gershkovich will appear in court for the second hearing in his trial

MOSCOW (AP) — Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will appear in court on Thursday for the second hearing in his trial on espionage charges that he, his employer and the U.S. government vehemently deny, court records showed. The trial is taking place behind closed doors in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains where […]

2 days ago

Students clash over quota system at Jahangir Nagar University at Savar outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, M...

Associated Press

Violent clashes over quota system in government jobs leave scores injured in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police fired tear gas and charged with batons during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters overnight, leaving dozens injured at a public university outside Bangladesh’s capital, police and students said Tuesday. The violence spread early Tuesday at Jahangir Nagar University in Savar, outside Dhaka, where the protesters […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

Armenia launches joint military drills with the US amid souring ties with old ally Russia

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Armenia on Monday launched joint military drills with the United States, a move that reflects its leader’s efforts to forge closer ties with the U.S. and other Western allies as the country’s relations with old ally Russia sour. The “Eagle Partner” war games are aimed at increasing interoperability of units participating […]

2 days ago

United Nations Peacekeepers walk inside the U.N.-controlled buffer zone in the center of Cyprus' di...

Associated Press

Cocked rifles and infrared cameras along Cyprus buffer zone stoke tensions that could spread farther

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The clang of unseen assault rifles being cocked carries across the United Nations-controlled buffer zone in ethnically cleaved Cyprus, ratcheting up concerns that the embers of the island’s stagnant conflict could again be rekindled. The rifles are just the tip of a string of recent escalations by Turkish Cypriots and Greek […]

3 days ago

Associated Press

Global leaders condemn Donald Trump’s assassination attempt

HONG KONG (AP) — Global leaders have expressed concern Sunday over an assassination attempt targeting former U.S. President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania that left one attendee dead and critically injured two others, with many condemning the violence that shocked the world. Trump’s campaign said the presumptive Republican nominee was doing “fine” after […]

4 days ago

China vows ‘forceful’ measures after US-Taiwan meeting