What to Know in Washington: McCarthy Rebuffs China After Meeting

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Speaker Kevin McCarthy is signaling to China the country can’t influence who he meets with, following a Southern California get-together with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

“China cannot dictate who a speaker of the House can meet with, either foe or friend,” McCarthy told Bloomberg TV’s “Balance of Power” after the event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Source: Bloomberg

McCarthy, who’s traveled to Beijing three times, said he would “gladly” meet with Chinese President Xi Jingping. He emphasized the gathering with Tsai included both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

The California Republican also said he wanted the US to speed arms sales to Taiwan to strengthen the island democracy’s military deterrence.

“What we should do is speed up that process so they can defend themselves,” McCarthy said.

A Chinese aircraft carrier battle group on Wednesday entered Taiwan’s southeastern waters, according to the island’s Ministry of National Defense, an early — if mostly symbolic — sign of the “resolute measures” Beijing had pledged in response to the “provocation” presented by the encounter, Annmarie Hordern reports.

McCarthy emerged from the meeting Wednesday with Taiwan’s president stressing the importance of the relationship between the two sides to economic freedom, peace and stability in the region.

Neither leader mentioned China in their joint public remarks, even as the meeting provided a new challenge in the already fraught relations between Washington and Beijing.

“I believe our bond is stronger now than at any time or point in my lifetime,” McCarthy told reporters. Cindy Wang and Laura Curtis have more on the meeting’s implications.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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