In a bold repudiation of China's demand, Sen. Ted Cruz stood his ground and proved he is sovereign by meeting with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen on Sunday as she passed through Texas on her way to diplomatic trips to Central America.
China had earlier given statements to the media expressing its desire for U.S. officials not to meet with the Taiwan leader. Sen. Cruz also revealed that China's consulate even wrote a "curious letter" asking the Houston congressional delegation not to meet with Tsai. But Cruz dismissed and defied the dictatorial posturing of China.
"The People's Republic of China needs to understand that in America, we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves.", Cruz said in released statement.
Cruz appears to be following the lead of fellow Republican and his rival for the GOP primary President-elect Donald Trump, who took a congratulatory call from Tsai following his historic victory in the U.S. election, in redefining U.S. relations with Taiwan. China expressed in strong terms its displeasure for the Trump and Tsai phone call and insisted on the "One China" policy agreement with the U.S. Trump firmly answered back and said China can not dictate who he can talk to and which calls to take, and even reminded everyone of U.S. close trade ties with Taiwan, including the highly profitable U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
Cruz underscored that his meeting with Tsai is not about China, but about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan whom the senator refers to as an ally " the U.S. is legally bound to defend". And as a broadside to the Asian superpower, Cruz also said that "we will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit."
Governor Greg Abbott joined Cruz in meeting Tsai. Cruz said that he and Tsai discussed arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations, as well as prospects for increasing trade markets between Texas and Taiwanese markets.
For his part, Abbot said he and Tsai talked about agriculture and gas trade, energy, energy and commercial ties between Texas and Taiwan. The leaders also exchanged gifts, with Abbot giving Tsai a clock bearing the Texas State Seal while he received a vase from Tsai.
China holds pronounced anger against Tsai because the Taiwanese leader rejected Beijing's continuous declaration that Taiwan is part of China's territory. Beijing also lodged a complaint to the U.S. for the controversial Trump and Tsai brief phone conversation. President Obama scrambled to appease China while Trump took a tougher, defiant stance against the Asian giant even hitting China in a series of strongly-worded tweets.