Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen departed for a 10-day trip to the United States and Central America Wednesday amid warnings from China. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
March 29 (UPI) -- China is promising retaliatory action if Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen meets with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as she began her 10-day trip to the United States and Central America Wednesday.
Tsai, who left Taiwan Wednesday afternoon, is expected to meet with McCarthy, R-Calif., during one of her stops in California, prompting a warning from China.
"If she contacts U.S. House speaker McCarthy, it will be another provocation that seriously violates the one-China principle, harms China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and destroys peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Zhu Frenglian, a spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office said in a press conference.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has hinted at taking control of the island by force, something that President Joe Biden said the U.S. would respond to. Taiwan has governed independently for decades and is one of the world's leaders in producing computer chips.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said that the trip violates the "one China" policy that has been long confirmed by China and the United States.
"China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the U.S. and the Taiwan region," said China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning. "We firmly oppose any visit by the leader of the Taiwan authorities to the U.S. in any name or under whatever pretext."
Tsai said that Taiwan has every right to "connect with the world" before she departed on Wednesday.
"External pressure won't stop our determination from moving toward international society," she said. "We're calm, confident, uncompromising and unprovocative."
China last August conducted military operations near Taiwan in a show of force during a trip by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to Taipei.
Mao on Wednesday said that its response was not "overreacting" while accusing the United States of "egregiously conniving at and supporting 'Taiwan independence' separatists."
"Past mistakes do not justify any new mistake," Mao said. "Repeating a mistake does not make it legitimate. The trip is not so much a 'transit' but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate Taiwan's independence.