Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) on Friday said in an interview that he and the delegation that traveled to Taiwan with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are “not going to allow Beijing” and Chinese President Xi Jinping to dictate the actions taken by Congress.
“We’re not going to allow Beijing and Xi to tell members of Congress what to do, who could visit, when [they can] and cannot visit,” Meeks said to The Washington Post.
He added: “You just can’t kowtow and bow down, changing what we do because of Beijing’s decision to be more aggressive.”
Meeks was part of the group that accompanied Pelosi on her trip across the Indo-Pacific region, including to Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims sovereignty over.
Pelosi’s trip created friction between China and the U.S. when she and her fellow members of Congress proceeded with their visit to Taiwan despite warnings from the Chinese government that it would have “severe negative impact” on the relationship between the two powers.
“It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote following the trip.
When asked about his thoughts on China’s response to the Taiwan visit, Meeks told the Post: “It just shows their aggressive nature in trying to change the status of Taiwan.”
Meeks said that while the response was “unprecedented,” it was still “predictable” and he was not “terribly surprised” at China’s hostility. China intensified its threats against the U.S. and Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit by ending climate and military cooperation with the U.S. and conducting military drills in the waters surrounding Taiwan.