LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles strongly condemned Wednesday's meeting in Southern California between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
McCarthy and Tsai met privately at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, despite repeated warnings from China against such a meeting. Last year, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, met with Tsai during a much-debated trip to Taiwan that was also met with condemnation from China, which responded by engaging in military exercises around Taiwan and cutting off some communication with leaders in Washington.
Tsai's visit with McCarthy occurred during a stopover on her journey home after visits to Guatemala and Belize.
A representative for the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles condemned the meeting, saying the Chinese government is the "sole legal government representing the whole of China," and Taiwan is "an inalienable part of China's territory."
"China firmly opposes any form of official interactions between the U.S. and Chinese Taiwan region," the representative said in remarks released by the consulate. "We firmly oppose any so-called visit by leaders of the Taiwan region to the U.S. in any name or under whatever pretext.
"We firmly oppose the U.S. government violating the one-China principle and having any form of engagement with Taiwan authorities."
The representative called Tsai's interactions with U.S. officials efforts to "seek breakthroughs and propagate `Taiwan independence."'
Speaking publicly after their closed-door meeting, McCarthy emphasized strong ties between "the people" of the United States and Taiwan.
"The friendship of the people of Taiwan and America is a matter of profound importance to the free world, and it is critical to maintain economic freedom, peace and regional stability," McCarthy said. "... We will honor our obligations and reiterate our commitment to our shared values."
Tsai said, "We are stronger when we are together."
Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Huntington Beach, who was part of the bipartisan congressional delegation meeting with Tsai, issued a statement calling the Chinese Communist Party "the greatest threat to democracy."
"It is vital that we stand strong against their attempts to intimidate and threaten a sovereign nation into submission," Steel said. "This historic visit sends a resounding message to the world that we stand with our ally Taiwan and will not tolerate any action by the Chinese Communist Party to undermine democracy."
Taiwan's foreign ministry issued a statement this week calling Chinese criticism of Tsai's travels "increasingly absurd and unreasonable."
"Taiwan will not back down, and friends in the U.S. who support Taiwan and Taiwan-U.S. relations will not back down either," the statement read. "Democratic partners will only become more united and have more frequent exchanges."
Tsai argues that Taiwan is a sovereign nation. The United States officially operates under a "One China" policy, although it has never formally recognized China's claim that Taiwan is part of that country.