China threatened retaliation on Wednesday if U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Taiwan’s president during her upcoming trip through Los Angeles.
President Tsai Ing-wen left Taiwan Wednesday afternoon on a tour of the island’s diplomatic allies in the Americas, which she framed as a chance to demonstrate Taiwan’s commitment to democratic values on the world stage.
Tsai arrived in New York later in the day and was scheduled to spend Thursday in the city before heading to Guatemala and Belize. She is expected to stop in Los Angeles on her way back to Taiwan on April 5, when a meeting with McCarthy is tentatively scheduled.
The planned meeting has triggered fears of a heavy-handed Chinese reaction amid heightened friction between Beijing and Washington over U.S. support for Taiwan and trade and human rights issues.
The spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhu Fenglian, denounced Tsai’s stopovers and demanded that no U.S. officials meet with her.