China indirectly cautioned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about traveling to Taiwan during a news conference on Monday in reaction to a report that he would like to go later this year.
“We encourage some individuals in the United States to sincerely adhere to the one-China concept,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said in a press conference on Monday. While implicitly referring to McCarthy’s intentions to visit, the spokesperson stated that China is “opposed to any formal contacts with Taiwan.”
China was replying to a query about a Punchbowl News article stating that the Pentagon was in the “early stages” of preparing a trip to the island nation for the California Republican later this year. The official did not clarify how China would react to the trip.
McCarthy’s visit would be the second straight year that a House speaker has visited the island country, after Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit during her tenure. Even though the Biden administration finally authorized the visit Taiwan, she got warnings from China and the White House at the time. McCarthy backed Pelosi’s trip.
China intensified military exercises close to the island at the time of Nancy Pelosi’s trip in an effort to frighten any potential visitors. Despite China’s intimidation measures, Pelosi made the trip and became the most senior figure to visit the nation since 1997, when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) visited.
McCarthy’s visit, which is expected to take place in the spring, will almost certainly be a big endeavor for the Pentagon, given the high security threats connected with the trip and China’s probable use of the same intimidation techniques it used in the run-up to Pelosi’s visit. Notably, Congress has granted increased security assistance to the island nation since Pelosi’s visit.
It would also coincide with McCarthy and House Republicans taking a tough position on China in the next Congress, forming a bipartisan Select Committee to study China and identify measures to prevent the communist country’s rising worldwide influence. Only 65 lawmakers, all of whom were Democrats, voted against the committee’s formation.