Republicans are voicing support for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s potential visit to Taiwan, following warnings from China’s communist regime that the speaker should not go.
Chinese communist authorities have bristled at reports that McCarthy and the Pentagon are working together to plan a trip to Taiwan.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, said earlier this week that the regime “opposes any form of official interaction” between Taiwan and nations that maintain diplomatic ties with China.
Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) said that Congress would not be bullied by the CCP and that it was vital the federal legislature work to strengthen ties with Taiwan.
“The United States will not take orders from the Chinese Communist Party nor should the CCP dictate the actions of any free and sovereign nation,” Steel said in an email to The Epoch Times.
“I will continue to advocate for policies that counter the CCP’s hostility against freedom loving nations across the world and strengthening U.S. relations with Taiwan is instrumental in that work.”
Similarly, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc.) said that McCarthy should stand his ground and that the United States did not require approval from the CCP to travel abroad.
“American lawmakers and officials don’t need a permission slip from Communist China to talk to our friends and allies,” Tiffany said in an email to the Epoch Times.
“I am glad Speaker McCarthy is standing his ground and hope he has a productive visit.”
Defense of Taiwan a Bipartisan Priority
The CCP claims that Taiwan is a rogue province of China that must be united with the regime, a claim known as the One China Principle. Taiwan, however, has never been controlled by the CCP and boasts a thriving democracy and market economy.
For its part, the United States has adopted a “One China Policy,” which acknowledges but does not endorse the CCP’s One China Principle.
Tiffany said that McCarthy’s trip would help to underscore the reality that Taiwan is in no way controlled by the CCP, a stance that he believes the United States should outline more openly and clearly.
“Taiwan is an independent and democratic nation, one that has never been part of the People’s Republic of China’s territory or under the control of its unelected rulers, even for a single day—and U.S. policy should reflect that undeniable fact,” Tiffany said.
Improving U.S.-Taiwan relations has become a bipartisan rallying point in recent months, following a 2022 visit to Taiwan by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In response to that visit, the CCP engaged in a series of provocative military actions aimed at intimidating both Taiwan and the United States, including firing several missiles directly over Taiwan which subsequently landed in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Since then, many in Congress have sought to reinforce Washington’s trade and defense ties with Taiwan.
Tiffany introduced a resolution earlier in the month that would formally end the United States’ One China Policy, for example, and a group of lawmakers led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is seeking to pass legislation revoking communist China’s permanent trade status.
Likewise, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the United States would need to redouble its efforts to provide Taiwan with the arms necessary to defend itself from CCP aggression.
“We need to work with the Taiwanese to make sure that they purchase from us the military equipment that they actually need as a deterrent to a potential effort by the mainland to engage in a military activity,” McConnell said during a Jan. 31 press conference.
“That’s what we need to do with the Taiwanese: Make sure they’re adequately armed. They can pay for it.”
McCarthy has not yet publicly addressed the reports that he is preparing a visit to Taiwan, but previously encouraged Pelosi to do so and said Taiwan deserved U.S. support.
“The CCP has shown itself to be a ruthless, aggressive, and evil dictatorship,” McCarthy said last year. “We cannot underrate its goal to control through force and brutality.”
“Taiwan warrants our support because it is a vibrant, thriving democracy. Its people want peace, freedom, and the right to determine their own future.”
McCarthy’s office did not return a request for comment.
From The Epoch Times