The Pentagon reportedly is making preparations for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to visit Taiwan this spring, Punchbowl News reported, citing an unidentified official.
The planning comes as House Republicans intend to make countering China a major focus of their new majority.
During the 2022 midterm elections — when then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was criticized for her plans to visit the island nation — McCarthy supported the trip and said he would visit Taiwan if he became speaker.
One of the first actions in the 118th Congress was to establish the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.
A Taiwan visit would be weighty effort for the Pentagon, which would need to consider the security logistics, as well as the response from Beijing, Punchbowl News noted.
When Pelosi made the trip in August, China ramped up military drills near the island as an intimidation tactic, and its top officials blasted the visit as a violation of long-standing U.S. policy toward Taiwan.
Pelosi flew to Taipei on a U.S. Air Force jet with five other members of Congress, making headlines when she accused China of "standing in the way" of Taiwan's participation in international affairs and said the U.S. commitment to preserving democracy "remains ironclad.'"
Other lawmakers have traveled to Taiwan in recent months and faced similar threats from China; Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., was in Taipei last week.
The Biden administration balked at Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, citing the potential for an escalation of tensions with China. But she called the gamble worth taking.
This time, the administration is being more proactive on the planning for a potential McCarthy visit, Punchbowl News reported.
Congress has already boosted security assistance to Taiwan as part of the annual defense policy bill, and the White House has asked for approval of billions of dollars worth of weapons sales to deter a potential invasion by China's military.
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