House Speaker McCarthy Confirms Plans to Meet With Taiwanese Leader During Her Trip to US
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th March, 2023) US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed plans to meet with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen during her trip to the United States.
"The President (Tsai) happens to be in America and I'm going to meet with her," McCarthy told reporters, as quoted by CNN journalist Manu Raju on Tuesday. "But that has nothing to do with my travel and if I would go to Taiwan or not."
The confirmation comes after reports surfaced this week that McCarthy will meet with Tsai in California instead of making a trip to Taipei in order to avoid further tensions with Beijing.
The Financial Times reported that Tsai convinced the California senator to meet in the United States instead to avoid sparking military demonstrations from China, which former speaker Nancy Pelosi spurred on when she visited Taiwan in August, said the report.
Last week, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin in a letter to all Defense Department personnel vowed that the US would provide Taiwan with self-defense capabilities as the threat from China evolves.
The US defense budget authorizes $2 billion in annual military assistance to Taiwan. However, Taiwan has expressed frustration over the delay in arms deliveries and an alleged backlog of almost $20 billion, much of which may not arrive for years, according to The Washington Post.
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province and opposes any official contacts by foreign states with Taipei as well as considers Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable.