US advises China not to "overreact" to Taiwan president trip


Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen addresses the media on March 29 before her departure to New York, as she makes her way to Guatemala and Belize. (Photo: Ann Wang/Reuters)

The White House has encouraged China not to "overreact" to Taiwan's president's planned stopover in the United States, describing the transit as "normal."

On Wednesday, John Kirby, the national security spokesman for the White House, emphasized that President Tsai Ing-trip wen's is consistent with US policy, which recognizes China's claim to the self-governed island.

"This transit is consistent with our longstanding unofficial relationship with Taiwan and with the unaltered 'One China' policy of the United States," he said.

"There is no reason for the Chinese to overreact here," Kirby added, stressing that the US hopes Tsai's transit will be "normal and uneventful."

Tsai is scheduled to fly via New York City on Wednesday and Los Angeles in April en route to or from Guatemala and Belize. The date of her return to Taipei is April 7.

The president of Taiwan has already visited the United States, most recently in 2019. This time, though, she is slated to see Kevin McCarthy, the US House of Representatives speaker, in California, a decision that would undoubtedly anger China.

Kirby stated that he could not speak for the leading Republican lawmaker or his agenda.

Yet, Beijing has frequently cautioned against the meeting. China's Taiwan Relations Bureau spokesperson, Zhu Fenglian, told reporters earlier this week that Tsai's "transits" in the United States extended beyond waiting at airports and hotels. She stated they were created so Tsai could meet with US officials and lawmakers.

"If she has contact with US House Speaker McCarthy, it will be a serious violation of the 'One China' principle, a threat to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," she stated.

"We vehemently oppose this and will take measures to fight back resolutely," Zhu stated without specifics.

When the then-Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taipei in August 2012, Beijing held war games surrounding Taiwan.

The White House cautioned against such actions in response to Tsai's trip on Wednesday. Kirby stated that the People's Republic of China should not exploit this transit as an excuse to increase activity in the Taiwan Strait.

Under the "One China" policy, the United States recognizes the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing as China's sole and legal government.

Nonetheless, the United States takes no position on Taiwan's sovereignty, arguing that peaceful methods should settle the island's destiny.

This stance differs from the "One China" premise of the People's Republic of China, where Beijing asserts that Taiwan is an integral part of its territory.

Although the United States does not formally recognize Taiwan, it maintains trade and security ties with the island.

In recent years, relations between Beijing and Washington have deteriorated on several grounds of contention, including trade difficulties, the status of Taiwan, China's claims in the South China Sea, and an ongoing US effort to counter China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific.

In January of this year, the United States fired down what it believed to be a Chinese spy balloon that had flown over its territory.

China said the aircraft was an off-course weather balloon and denounced the decision to shoot it down.

Publish : 2023-03-30 10:35:00

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