Rep. Michael McCaul, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation in Taiwan as its president returns from a visit to the United States. They arrived on Thursday, one day after Speaker Kevin McCarthy angered China officials for meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California. Tsai also met with U.S. lawmakers in New York while she was in the country.
The bipartisan delegation hopes China thinks twice before any attempt to invade Taiwan.
“Being here I think sends a signal to the Chinese Communist Party that the United States supports Taiwan and that we’re going to harden Taiwan, and we want them to think twice about invading Taiwan,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
It was the delegation’s third overseas stop after visiting U.S. allies Japan and South Korea.
The lawmakers’ arrival in the self-ruling democracy comes as China, which claims the island as its territory, is still fuming over a meeting in California on Wednesday between McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai, who is traveling through the United States on her way back from a trip to Guatemala and Belize, is scheduled to return to Taiwan on Friday and will meet with McCaul’s delegation Saturday.
China had criticized the McCarthy-Tsai meeting as a “provocation” and a violation of the one-China principle, under which Washington recognizes Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China while maintaining unofficial relations with Taipei. Tsai was on a tour of Guatemala and Belize, followed by her arrival in the United States. Communist Chinese officials are not happy about any of that itinerary. Too bad. Tsai isn’t going to bow to pressure from the Communist Chinese any more than Speaker McCarthy is – they will both meet with whomever they wish to meet. Tsai is scheduled to return to Taiwan Friday and will meet with McCaul and his delegation on Saturday.
Taiwan is a self-ruling democracy that China claims as its territory. The relationship between China and the United States has been dramatically worsening. Beijing is increasing pressure on Taiwan and refusing to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There was the spy balloon kerfuffle in February that infuriated Americans. The inept Biden administration at first pooh-poohed the spy balloon as not being a spy balloon. That defied logic to everyone with a brain. Eventually, the Biden administration had to admit it was a spy balloon gathering intelligence over U.S. land and near military facilities. Move along, nothing to see here.
The Chinese commie officials labeled the McCarthy-Tsai meeting as a “provocation” and a violation of the one-China policy. That policy is one in which Washington recognizes Beijing as the legitimate government of China as it maintains unofficial relations with Taipei. Will there be retaliation over McCaul’s delegation in Taiwan? As of Thursday night, no large-scale military drills were being held, as they were after Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last August. Taiwan is monitoring smaller movements.
The maritime safety administration of Fujian province, which sits about 100 miles across the waters from Taiwan, said Wednesday that it was launching a three-day joint cruise and patrol operation in the Taiwan Strait that could include “on-site inspections” of other ships. The Taiwanese government said it had lodged a strong protest with China over the operation and instructed shipping operators to refuse any Chinese requests to board.
Taipei was also watching a Chinese aircraft carrier that its defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, said was about 200 nautical miles off Taiwan’s east coast Wednesday. Chiu told reporters that although the carrier group was in the area for training purposes, the timing was “quite sensitive.”
McCaul and the delegation began their visit with a meeting with Taiwanese Vice President William Lai. He is likely to be Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party successor in next year’s presidential election. McCaul pledged support to Taiwan and Lai said Taiwan would do its utmost to protect itself. Lai almost sounded Reaganesque when he said, “It is true that we need to prepare for a war in order to avoid one, and we need to be prepared to fight to stop a war.” That’s almost like Reagan’s peace through strength vision.
There will also be meetings on trade and regional security.
The bipartisan delegation includes Reps. French Hill, R-Ark., Michael Lawler, R-N.Y., Ami Bera, D-Calif., Young Kim, R-Calif., Nathaniel Moran, R-Texas, Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., and Madeleine Dean, D-Pa. We’ll wait and see if anything happens after the delegation returns to the United States. Will Xi and his minions launch missiles to show their anger?