China indirectly warned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about visiting Taiwan during a press conference on Monday in response to a report indicating he has plans to go later this year.
“We urge certain individuals in the U.S. to earnestly abide by the one-China principle,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a briefing on Monday. And the spokesperson, while indirectly referring to McCarthy’s plans to visit, added that China is “opposed to any official interactions with Taiwan.”
China was responding to a question about a report from the Punchbowl News indicating that the Pentagon was in the “early stages” of planning a trip to the island nation for the California Republican later this year. The spokesperson did not say if China would respond to the trip in any way.
McCarthy’s trip would mark the second consecutive year a speaker of the House has visited the island nation after Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited during her time in the position. At the time, she received warnings from China and the White House, even though the Biden administration ultimately supported the trip. McCarthy supported Pelosi’s trip.
At the time of the trip, China had ramped up military drills near the island to try and intimidate any visitors. However, despite the intimidation tactics from China, Pelosi still successfully made the trip and became the most senior official to visit the country since 1997 when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) visited.
With reports indicating that McCarthy would make his visit in the spring, it will likely be a significant undertaking for the Pentagon — given the major security risks associated with the trip and China potentially attempting the same intimidation tactics it employed in the runup to Pelosi’s visit. Notably, since Pelosi’s trip, Congress has approved more security assistance to the island nation.
It would also come as McCarthy, and the House Republicans have taken a hard-line stance on China in the new Congress, establishing a bipartisan Select Committee to investigate China and find ways to counter the communist country’s growing international influence. Only 65 lawmakers, all of whom were Democrats, voted against the creation of the committee.