The de facto ambassador of Taiwan to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, met with the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on January 9, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
The meeting, which was the first of its kind in more than four decades, marked a significant upgrade in the unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its territory. Hsiao and Pelosi discussed issues of mutual interest, such as democracy, human rights, trade, and security, and expressed their support for each other amid the challenges posed by China.
China denounced the meeting as a violation of the One-China principle, which stipulates that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it. China also accused the U.S. of interfering in its internal affairs and undermining its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China warned the U.S. and Taiwan to stop any official contacts and exchanges, and to refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions and damage the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China also reiterated its resolve to defend its national interests and to take all necessary measures to safeguard its core interests.
The meeting between Hsiao and Pelosi reflects the growing closeness and cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan, which have been bolstered by the shared values and interests of the two sides, as well as the common concerns and threats from China.
The meeting also demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act, which obliges the U.S. to provide Taiwan with defensive arms and to maintain its capacity to resist any use of force or coercion by China. The meeting also signals the U.S. support for Taiwan’s international participation and recognition, which have been severely restricted by China’s diplomatic pressure and isolation.
The meeting between Hsiao and Pelosi also poses a challenge and a risk for the regional and global stability and order, as it could provoke China’s anger and retaliation, and increase the likelihood of a military conflict over Taiwan. China has intensified its political, economic, and military pressure on Taiwan, and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal of unification.
China has also increased its assertiveness and aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, and has challenged the U.S. leadership and influence. The meeting between Hsiao and Pelosi could further strain the U.S.-China relations, which are already at their lowest point in decades, and could undermine the prospects of dialogue and cooperation on issues of common concern, such as trade, climate change, and nonproliferation.