U.S> House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently took part in a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as she paid California a quick visit this past Wednesday, doing so directly in the face of threats from China trying to both pressure and internationally isolate the small island nation coming from the Chinese Communist Party rule.
McCarthy stepped up to hose a bipartisan meeting alongside Tsai inside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library located in Los Angeles with dozens of legislators, including the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party chair and ranking members Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
As part of the joint press conference held alongside Tsai, the House speaker expressed that he thinks that U.S.-Taiwan relations are stronger now than ever before. However, as tensions escalate across the globe, climbing to their highest point since the end of the Cold War, McCarthy openly condemned authoritarian leaders for trying to spark needless conflicts with both violence and fear-mongering.
"I am the speaker of the House," McCarthy explained to Reporters, as reported by The New York Times. "There is no place that China’s going to tell me where I can go and who I can speak to, whether you be foe or whether you be friend."
McCarthy stated that he does not want to directly escalate tensions with China. However, he did speak up to call for continued arms sales to Taiwan, enhancing economic cooperation, and promoting a series of shared values with the island.
Taiwanese President Tsai Chimed in to thank the members of the House for standing in support of her country’s independence.
"Their presence and unwavering support reassure the people of Taiwan that we are not isolated and we are not alone," stated Tsai. "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."
One spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense claimed that the country stands against the "transit" of President Tsai into the U.S. and against any official exchanges at all between the two countries, stating that such an action "seriously violates" the on-Chine principle.
"In response to the seriously wrong actions of the US-Taiwan collusion, China will take resolute and forceful measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," the spokesperson claimed as part of a news release.
"We are not afraid," claimed Gallagher, as reported in POLITICO. "We support our friends in Taiwan. We’re going to keep saying that whenever we have the opportunity, and we’re going to turn those words into action this Congress — bipartisan action — because Taiwan is a small, but very bright candle burning at the edge of a vast authoritarian darkness."
In rare fashion, Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offer up a word of commendation to McCarthy over his handling of the meeting with Tsai.
"Today’s meeting between President Tsai of Taiwan and Speaker McCarthy is to be commended for its leadership, its bipartisan participation and its distinguished and historic venue," stated Pelosi in a comment reported by The Hill.