Actually, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, wanted to make a trip to Taipei. President Tsai Ing-wen persuaded him to meet in California instead. A de-escalation strategy given the persistently high tensions.
High-ranking US politicians like to use trips to Taiwan to snub the communist leadership in Beijing. Knowing full well that the island is claimed by the People’s Republic as part of the “One China Policy” (just as Taipei claims mainland China), such unofficial visits are not previously coordinated with Beijing. Basically, it’s all about getting in the way of the Chinese leadership.
But the internationally unrecognized leadership in Taipei now seems to have realized that further visits of this kind are not necessarily helpful. The president of the self-governing island, Tsai Ing-wen, convinced the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, to call off a trip to Taiwan. Instead, they will meet in the Republican politician’s home state of California. According to the Financial Times, Tsai wanted to prevent an “aggressive military response by China”.
McCarthy, who promised last summer to visit Taiwan if elected speaker of the House of Representatives, has now backed down. According to a senior Taiwanese official, McCarthy’s team was provided with “some information about what the Chinese Communist Party has been up to lately and what kind of threat it poses.” He also added that China is “not in a good position”.
A meeting b/n Speaker McCarthy and President Tsai during an expected upcoming transit would make sense. McCarthy would be able to demonstrate support for Taiwan and leave open possibility of future travel, but wouldn’t be under pressure to visit this year. https://t.co/yqeLj0Tr3Q
— Ryan Hass (@ryanl_hass) March 6, 2023
From a Taiwanese point of view, such high-level US visits are completely counterproductive anyway, given the persistently high tensions between Beijing and Washington. Because apart from a provocation by Beijing, which could lead to a new – and this time much more comprehensive – blockade of the island, such a step would do nothing for Taipei.
Leave a Reply