McCarthy hails friendship with Taiwan amid political tensions with Beijing

Los Angeles, Apr 5 (EFE).- US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday welcomed Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to California and at their meeting hailed US-Taiwanese “friendship” amid great controversy about the issue and how Beijing will react to such a statement.

“The friendship between America and the people of Taiwan has never been stronger. It is my honor to welcome President (Tsai) to the (Ronald) Reagan (Presidential) Library,” wrote the Republican McCarthy on his Twitter account, including a photo of the seated pair chatting at the library.

The meeting has been viewed by the Mainland Chinese government as a threat to its sovereignty, and days before the encounter Beijing declared its “firm opposition” to the get-together and warned that it would take “firm measures” if it came about.

Tsai is meeting with McCarthy after having made a tour of Central America, where she visited Belize and Guatemala, two of the three countries around the world that still maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taipei.

McCarthy and Tsai will meet with a bipartisan group of US lawmakers at the Reagan Library, located in Simi Valley, California.

Although the meeting has been considered to be a sign of US support for the government on the island of Taiwan, John Kirby – a White House spokesman – said Wednesday that the meeting is a normal diplomatic event.

“There’s no reason for the Chinese to overreact in any way,” the National Security Council spokesman told reporters Wednesday, adding that nothing has changed in US policy toward Taiwan.

“We’ll watch this as closely as we can,” he said, noting that no official from the Democratic Joe Biden administration had met with any of the Taiwanese.

The island off the coast of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is one of the biggest sources of conflict between China and the US, above all due to the fact that Washington it the main arms supplier to Taiwan and presumably would be its biggest military ally in case of an armed conflict with China to reclaim the island by force.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which it has considered to be a rebel province since the Kuomintang nationalist Chinese fled there from the mainland in 1949 after losing the local civil war to the communists, who still rule the PRC.

EFE –/bp

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