Taiwan’s Tsai Convinces House Speaker McCarthy to Meet in US, FT Reports

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(Bloomberg) -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen persuaded House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to meet in the US due to security worries, the Financial Times said, a move that appeared aimed at avoiding another crisis with China.

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Tsai’s government shared intelligence with McCarthy about threats posed by Beijing, the newspaper reported, citing a senior Taiwanese official, who added that risks could be limited if Washington and Taipei worked to control them. McCarthy has said he wanted to visit Taipei at some point.

A separate official from Taiwan said McCarthy viewed the concerns as reasonable, the Financial Times said, and that Tsai’s representatives suggested a meeting in the US while the president stopped over on a trip to Central America.

Taiwan’s representative office in the US declined to comment on the report. The Foreign Ministry in Taipei said in a statement it didn’t have any information to offer on Tsai’s trip, adding it would brief the public when the details are confirmed.

Read: Xi Woos Taiwan Opposition Ahead of Pivotal Presidential Vote

China responded to then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August by holding unprecedented military exercises in areas all around Taiwan, which appeared to show it could enforce a blockade of the island that Beijing views as its territory. The People’s Liberation Army also fired missiles over Taiwan.

The US said that China overreacted to the trip, the first by a sitting House speaker in 25 years.

China has eased up its military pressure on Taiwan of late. The island holds a presidential election next year that Beijing’s preferred negotiating partner, the opposition Kuomintang, has a chance to win.

Tsai will leave office after serving the maximum two, four-year terms.

--With assistance from Nick Wadhams and Cindy Wang.

(Updates with comment from Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.)

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