The Pentagon is in the early stages of planning for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to travel to Taiwan later this year as House Republicans focus on China, according to a report on Monday.
The trip to the democratic island nation could come as soon as spring, Punchbowl News reported, as the Pentagon works out security logistics for the visit and the expected response from Beijing — which views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has vowed reunification, including by force.
China ratcheted up military drills near the island last August when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led a congressional delegation to the island.
McCarthy (R-Calif.), then the minority leader, vowed in July to travel to Taiwan if Republicans gained control of the House in the November midterm elections. McCarthy also expressed support for Pelosi’s visit, the first to Taiwan by a House speaker in more than 20 years.
McCarthy’s travel to Taiwan would further inflame already tense relations between Beijing and Washington at a time when both Republicans and Democrats are pressing the Biden administration to take a tougher stand against China.
Earlier this month, the House voted to create a new China select committee that will focus on the threat to America’s economy posed by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Biden administration, which initially opposed Pelosi’s traveling to Taiwan because of the diplomatic issues it created, kept its distance from her visit — although she was permitted to travel on a military jet.
However, the White House reportedly has become more engaged with the potential trip by McCarthy.