TAIPEI: China vowed on Wednesday to “fight back” should Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen meet the US House speaker during a trip to the United States.
Tsai left on Wednesday for the United States, from where she will head to Guatemala and Belize to shore up ties with diplomatic allies. On her way back to Taiwan she will stop in California, where US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had said he would meet her.
China claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be retaken one day and, under its “One China” principle, no country may maintain official ties with both Beijing and Taipei.
Beijing warned on Wednesday that it was “resolutely opposed” to any meeting between Tsai and McCarthy and vowed to take “resolute measures to fight back” if it goes ahead.
“If (Tsai) engages with US House Speaker McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the One China principle, undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian said.
Tsai’s trip follows Honduras’ decision this month to open diplomatic relations with Beijing, leaving Belize and Guatemala among just 13 countries that have official ties with Taipei.
“External pressure will not hinder our determination to go global,” Tsai told reporters at the airport before leaving. “We are calm and confident. We will not succumb and we will not provoke (others).”
After first visiting New York, Tsai will meet her Guatemalan counterpart Alejandro Giammattei and Belize Prime Minister John Briceno in their respective countries, her office said. She will then stop in Los Angeles on her way home.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2023
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