A day after Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met in Houston, the White House has brushed off any role in the meeting and said such a move does not have any bearing on the US’ continued pursuit of the one-China policy. Cruz met Tsai in Houston to discuss ties and furthering economic cooperation between “our two nations”, infuriating Beijing which warned against “undermining” China-US relations by such actions.
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White House brushed off any role for itself for the meeting between the Taiwanese President and Senator Cruz, who had lost to Trump in the Republican primary elections.
“The meeting was one that was arranged at Senator Cruz’s own initiative, as far as I know. It certainly was not coordinated or encouraged by the administration. And the meeting does not have any bearing whatsoever on our continued pursuit of a one-China policy that benefits the United States and Taiwan,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.
The US policy with regard to Taiwan has not changed, he said.
“The President and this administration have pursued that one China policy in the same way that previous administrations have because we believe that it best serves the national security interests of the United States. We also happen to believe it serves well the interests of our friends in Taiwan.
“So I am not sure whether or not Senator Cruz and his team was acting on behalf of the President-elect. They obviously have a rather unique relationship and obviously the incoming administration will determine whether or not to continue this policy once President-elect Trump takes office on January 20. But as of now, there is nothing about the meeting that took place over the weekend that in any way changed US policy with regard to Taiwan,” Earnest said.
In addition to Cruz, Republican Congressman from Texas Joe Barton also hosted Tsai Ing-wen in Houston on Saturday.
Congressman Barton introduced President Tsai at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.
The trip constituted the first visit by President Tsai to the US since assuming office.
“Last fall, President Tsai graciously invited me to her home. I was grateful to return the favour in Texas. A continued, open dialogue between Taiwan and the United States will help advance both nations,” Barton said.
China on Monday reaffirmed its opposition to any contacts between US officials and Taiwan’s government.
China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province to be brought back within its fold, by force if necessary. China is opposed to any official contact between foreign governments with the leaders of the self-governing island.