House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) arrived in Taiwan with a bipartisan delegation this week on the heels of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in California in spite of objections from China.
“Being here I think sends a signal to the Chinese Communist Party that the United States supports Taiwan and that we’re going to harden Taiwan, and we want them to think twice about invading Taiwan,” McCaul told Fox News.
“We’re not going to let this intimidation, you know, get to us,” McCaul said. “We all received, you know, sort of threatening texts. There’s talk about a Chinese escort in the air. That’s just really intimidation, saber-rattling.”
McCaul also said he also plans to meet with Tsai.
McCarthy led a bipartisan meeting with Tsai on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, which he said provided for “greater peace and stability for the world.” He is the most senior elected official in the U.S. to meet with Tsai on U.S. soil. Tsai also met with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) last week.
Chinese officials condemned McCarthy’s meeting with Tsai, and some analysts suggested that the meeting in California was a compromise to avoid further escalation of tensions with China.
McCarthy said he does not have plans to visit Taiwan, but he is leaving open the possibility of traveling there despite China’s objections.
“I am the Speaker of the House. There is no place that China is going to tell me where I can go or who I can speak to, whether you be foe or whether you be friend,” McCarthy said in a press conference on Wednesday.
A release from the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the delegation plans to meet with business leaders and senior Taiwanese officials to discuss strengthening the U.S.-Taiwan defense relationship amid escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Reps. Young Kim (R-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), French Hill (R-Ark.), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), and Nathaniel Moran (R-Texas) joined McCaul on the codel.
The Indo-Pacific trip also included stops in Japan and South Korea earlier in the week, including a visit to the demilitarized zone that separates North Korea and South Korea.