Top House Democrat Jeffries met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, met Thursday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in New York, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

The Taiwanese leader, whose government is at odds with the Chinese Communist Party, is also expected to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Friday that other Republicans could join the meeting, including Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, who heads a House committee on China.

A spokesperson for Jeffries, D-N.Y., declined to comment. Punchbowl News was first to report on the Jeffries meeting.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a dinner reception in New York
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks Thursday at a dinner reception in New York.Taiwan Presidential Office via AP

Ahead of her trip, Chinese officials called a possible Tsai meeting with McCarthy a “provocation” and vowed retaliation. The tension over the meetings underscores the increasing disconnect between the U.S. and China.

Tsai arrived in New York on Wednesday on her way to Guatemala and Belize. Next week, she will visit Los Angeles before returning to Taiwan.

In August, McCarthy’s predecessor, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, met with Tsai on a trip to Taiwan.

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