Chinese Embassy Warns US Lawmakers Against Meeting With Taiwanese President

U.S. lawmakers Wednesday dismissed a warning from China’s embassy that they should not meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, who is visiting California.

A bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers accompanied House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for a private meeting with Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Hours before, U.S. news outlet Punchbowl News reported that some of the lawmakers meeting with Tsai had received emails expressing “China’s deep concern and firm opposition to this possible move.”

“The Chinese side strongly opposes any form of official interaction between the U.S. and Taiwan, strongly opposes any visit to the U.S. by the leader of the Taiwan authorities regardless of the rationale or pretext, and strongly opposes all forms of contact of the U.S. officials with the Taiwan authorities,” wrote Li Xiang, identified as a counselor at the embassy, in an email obtained by VOA.

Lawmakers said there would be no change in their plans.

“China cannot dictate who members of Congress meet with on U.S. soil. The congressman looks forward to meeting with President Tsai and Speaker McCarthy today,” a spokesperson for Representative Adam Curtis’ office told VOA.

The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party told VOA that several,  not all, of the lawmakers traveling to California for the Wednesday talks had reported receiving the embassy email.

The email said Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy and other lawmakers would violate the “One China” principle, held by the People’s Republic of China, that Taiwanese sovereignty is an internal matter.

“China has no room for compromise on this issue. We urge the U.S. side to refrain from facilitating a meeting between the U.S. lawmakers and Tsai Ing-wen, and stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan,” the letter said, warning that China would “most likely take necessary and resolute actions in response to the unwanted situation.”

The U.S. State Department maintains that transits by high-level Taiwanese authorities are not visits and are private and unofficial. Every Taiwan president has transited the United States and this is Tsai’s seventh visit since taking office in 2016.

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