April 10, 2023

Standing With Taiwan Is the Right Thing to Do

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, China responds aggressively.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met at the Reagan Presidential Library in California last week. Several members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, also attended the meeting, which represents the highest-profile meeting between such diplomats on American soil since 1979.

With an ever-worsening relationship with China tempering the actions of both, McCarthy opted to meet Tsai under the auspices of a “transit stop” to avoid excessive provocation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). China considers Taiwan part of its territory, though Taiwan — a democratic country — has long resisted this communist nation’s domineering threats of “reunification.”

Tsai is also meeting with other Taiwan allies, Belize and Guatemala, to further underline the casualness of the U.S. meeting. In spite of treading lightly, the Chinese were not happy about the meeting taking place, even as a “transit stop.” Chinese media and Chinese embassies in the U.S. called it a “serious mistake.” The Chinese consulate in Los Angeles issued a withering statement, condemning the meeting and reiterating the threats of “reunification” with Taiwan.

McCarthy refused to cow to threats, stating that China has no right to tell him where he needs to go or who he’s allowed to speak to, particularly since this was a peaceful meeting to foster democracy and freedom.

The meeting with bipartisan presence at the Reagan Library was a success. Tsai acknowledged the rarity of this cross-aisle support in her statement of thanks to those who attended the meeting, saying: “Their presence and unwavering support reassure the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated and we are not alone. In the discussion with Congressional leaders this morning, I reiterated Taiwan’s commitment to defending the peaceful status quo — where the people of Taiwan may continue to thrive in a free and open society.”

Like then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island nation in August 2022, this meeting between Speaker McCarthy and the Taiwanese president was applauded by both the Right and Left in a rare show of bipartisan agreement. This fact alone should give China pause.

However, this meeting — also like Pelosi’s visit — was answered with Chinese aggressive retaliation.

In the wake of McCarthy’s perceived defiance to Chinese wishes, the CCP executed a three-day military drill. Several military planes and ships crossed the unofficial line that divides Chinese and Taiwanese territory. They were practicing surrounding the Island. Ten Taiwanese ships went out to meet and deter the Chinese ships in an apparent standoff.

Chinese media showed simulations of where China would send missiles and hit strategic targets in Taiwan. But China is doing more than war game simulations. During this latest “drill,” it also practiced attacking “foreign military targets” very close to the southwest coast of Taiwan.

For its part, the U.S. embassy in Taiwan stated that it remained confident in America’s ability to intervene to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The provocation and bullying by the CCP against Taiwan is not merely a symptom of worsening U.S.-Chinese relations but the latest move in the chess game of world powers. Considering who is at the helm of the U.S. Army, it’s no wonder China’s moves are getting ever bolder.

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