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Analysts warn of more tensions if McCarthy meets Tsai

《环球时报·英文版》 2023-03-07

US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly is planning to meet Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen in the US in coming weeks. Chinese analysts warned of more tensions should the US continues to violate the one-China principle.

Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity were quoted as saying by Reuters on Monday that Tsai had been invited to speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library during a transit through California on a planned visit to Central America, and that McCarthy was likely to meet her in the US.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute confirmed it had invited Tsai to speak at the Reagan Library in southern California, but said it had "no confirmation if she'll accept or when she would come if she did."

On day after the report, at a press conference Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang responded to the Taiwan question with the Chinese Constitution in hand, saying that the island of Taiwan is part of China's sacred territory. How to resolve the Taiwan question is a matter of China's own internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere.

The Taiwan question is the core of China's core interests, the foundation of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first uncrossable red line in China-US relations, Qin stressed, and that the US bears undeniable responsibility for provoking the Taiwan question.

Qin also said that the reason China talks to the US about the Taiwan question is to urge the US not to interfere in China's internal affairs. If the Taiwan question is not handled well, China-US relations will be thrown off course. If the US really wants peace across the Taiwan Straits, it should stop containing China with the Taiwan question, return to the roots of the one-China principle, honor its political commitment to China, and unequivocally oppose and stop "Taiwan independence."

McCarthy previously indicated an interest in visiting Taiwan and stated that he would have liked to join Pelosi's visit, The Diplomat reported.

McCarthy should be well aware that if he chooses to visit the island of Taiwan, it will inevitably cause new tensions across the Taiwan Straits, and China's countermeasures may be even more decisive than those seen during Nancy Pelosi's last visit to the island, and China-US relations will further deteriorate,Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Xin predicted that the Taiwan authorities should have learned a lesson from the Pelosi's visit, that too close a relationship with the US could drag the Taiwan island into a conflict. Adding that the results of local elections in 2022 prove that the Democratic Progressive Party can hardly win people's heart by interacting with US officials, so they should reassess the risks of such actions.

During a CNBC interview on Monday, McCarthy declined to answer whether he would visit Taiwan, saying he would announce any travel plans when he had them.

Asked on Monday whether the White House preferred a meeting between the two parties in California as opposed to the island of Taiwan, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment.

Speaking at a briefing on Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was unaware of any confirmed travel, though the department would play a role in any such visit by a foreign dignitary.

Whether it will be Tsai visiting the US or McCarthy visiting the island of Taiwan, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is always ready to defend the country's sovereignty, analysts said.

China might not only use diplomatic countermeasures, but also commensurate military countermeasures if McCarthy visits the island, Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The PLA held unprecedented large-scale military exercises around the island of Taiwan after then US house speaker Nancy Pelosi provocatively landed on the island in August 2022. The drills saw PLA conventional missiles fly over the island for the first time, and completely encircled the island from all directions.