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China’s trying to trap McCarthy on visiting Taiwan – should he go?

Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
January 31, 2023

China pressed for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to reconsider his plans to visit the island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own. The warning comes after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island late last year.

During a news briefing Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning didn’t mention McCarthy by name, but was responding to a question about his plan, recently reported in the media.

“We urge certain individuals in the U.S. to earnestly abide by the one-China principle,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said during a news briefing Monday, adding that they should also “stop doing anything that violates the basic norms in international relations.”

In China’s official version of Mao’s answer, she said “China opposes any form of official interaction between its Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China.”

The Pentagon is in the early stages of planning an extended Taiwan visit for McCarthy later this year, Punchbowl News first revealed last week. Before his predecessor, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, visited the nation in August, McCarthy had said he would “love to” visit Taiwan himself as speaker, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 in a civil war that never officially ended. Since then, China’s openly stated goal of reabsorbing the island has grown into one of the world’s most sensitive geopolitical situations.

Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, the first by a U.S. House Speaker since 1997, was preceded by warnings of “serious consequences” from China’s foreign ministry, as reported by Al Jazeera. After her two-day visit, China launched days of military drills around the island and sanctioned Pelosi and her family, as reported by the Washington Post.

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) recently called on every member of Congress to visit Taiwan after making his own trip earlier this month.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.