Newsman: Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to “defend the peaceful status quo” in which the people of Taiwan can continue to thrive in a free and open society. Her remarks came after a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday.
Speaking in a joint appearance with McCarthy before a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library outside Los Angeles, the Taiwanese leader also thanked the U.S. for its support to Taiwan.
The “unwavering support,” Tsai said, “reassures the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated, we are not alone.”
“To preserve peace, we must be strong,” Tsai said, paraphrasing the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s policy of “peace through strength.”
Among the Democratic and Republican officials present were Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher and Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, co-chairs of a new House select committee that focuses on China.
Outside the venue, a few dozen people staged protests against Tsai’s visit and counter-protests in support of her, while a propeller plane flew circles above the estate, trailing a banner that said: “One China; Taiwan is a part of China.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington on Tuesday urged American lawmakers not to meet Tsai. “I have to point out that China will not sit idly by in the face of a blatant provocation and will most likely take necessary and resolute actions in response to the unwanted situation,” an embassy representative wrote to lawmakers.
Ahead of Tsai’s visit to California, Beijing had warned against her planned meeting with McCarthy labeling as a “provocation” and threatened “countermeasures” should be taken if the meeting goes ahead.
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Washington is closely following Beijing’s reaction. “We’ll watch this as closely as we can, of course we will, and we’ll always make sure that regardless we maintain and have the requisite capabilities and resources to preserve peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”