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Taiwan’s President Tsai Meets With House Speaker McCarthy

The meeting boosts Taiwan's diplomatic profile in the face of diplomatic pressure from Communist China
Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: April 5, 2023
US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (R) speaks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen while arriving for a bipartisan meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on April 5, 2023. (Image: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

On April 5, U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met with Tsai Ing-wen, President of the Republic of China (ROC), in Simi Valley, Los Angeles.

Tsai’s visit to the U.S. and meeting with a high-ranking American official is significant because Taiwan, as the ROC is casually called, is subject to claims by the communist-run mainland China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rejects Taiwan’s statehood and sees placing the island under Beijing’s control as a non-negotiable goal.

McCarthy expressed American support for Taiwan, calling Tsai a “great friend to America” and said that he was “optimistic we will continue to find ways for the people of America and Taiwan to work together to promote economic freedom, democracy, peace, and stability.”

He stressed that the U.S. should step up arms sales to the ROC to help it defends itself in the event of invasion by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as well as “strengthen our economic cooperation, particularly with trade and technology.”

Tsai, for her part, thanked Congress for lending bipartisan support to Taiwan’s defense, bolstering trade relations, and “and supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the international community.”

“Taiwan is grateful to have the United States of America by our side as we confront the unique challenges of our time,” she said.

Taiwan is currently governed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which advocates a national identity separate from mainland China, as well as de jure independence for the island.

The ROC used to govern all of China, but was defeated on the mainland in 1949 by the communists and retreated to Taiwan. It held the U.N. Security Council seat for China until it was expelled from the international body in 1971 and its place was taken by the CCP. As a result, Taiwan is not represented in the U.N. and few countries have formal relations with it.

Communist China routinely threatens Taiwan with flights of combat aircraft and naval patrols.