China has threatened to retaliate if US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen during her planned transit of the United States in April. China views such meetings as a provocation and support for Taiwan’s aspirations to be recognized as a separate country.

Tsai is set to depart for a trip to Guatemala and Belize, with transit stops in New York and Los Angeles. Although unconfirmed, she is expected to meet McCarthy while in California. In response, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, warned that any contact with McCarthy would be a provocation, violating the one-China principle and harming China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The United States has maintained that Taiwanese presidents’ transit stops are routine and should not be used by China as a pretext for aggressive actions against Taiwan. Taiwanese presidents often pass through the US while visiting diplomatic allies, and these stops are frequently used for high-level meetings.

Taiwan’s government rejects China’s sovereignty claims, and President Tsai has consistently offered talks with Beijing while asserting that only Taiwan’s people can determine their future.