Apr 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

China sanctions senior U.S. lawmaker McCaul for visiting Taiwan

Representative Mike McCaul during a hearing

Rep. Michael McCaul. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

China on Thursday sanctioned Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, for visiting Taiwan.

The big picture: McCaul met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei last week and said that the U.S. would provide training for Taiwan's armed forces and deliver more weapons to the self-governing island to support its defense capabilities.

  • China views any gesture that seems to treat Taiwan as an independent country as an affront, Axios' Dave Lawler and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian write.
  • Beijing responded with military drills near Taiwan after Tsai met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California last week.

Details: McCaul will not be able to enter China or interact with organizations and individuals in the country, and any assets he has in China will be frozen, according to a statement by China's Foreign Ministry.

  • Such sanctions are largely symbolic because few U.S. lawmakers have visited China in recent years or hold any known assets there.
  • “Michael McCaul has frequently interfered in China’s internal affairs and harmed China’s interests in recent years,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the statement.

What he's saying: “Being sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party is a badge of honor," McCaul said in a statement.

  • "Nothing will deter the United States from supporting free, democratic nations—including Taiwan. Ironically, this baseless action serves U.S. interests by bringing more attention to our international partners and revealing the CCP’s blatant aggression," the statement added.

Worth noting: China also sanctioned several U.S. individuals and entities last week for coordinating Tsai's activities in New York and California, including the Hudson Institute and Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, along with their executives.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with McCaul's statement.

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