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Ted Cruz and Texas governor defy China edict to meet with president of Taiwan

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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott met with the president of Taiwan on Sunday during a stopover in Houston that was sure to pique Chinese leaders already upset by her conversation with President-elect Donald Trump.

It is not unusual for U.S. lawmakers to meet with Taiwanese leaders when they pass through the country, but tensions are high this winter after Trump, who like Cruz and Abbott is a Republican, spoke to Tsai Ing-wen last month.

The telephone conversation broke with decades of precedent and cast doubt on his incoming administration’s commitment to Beijing’s “one China” policy.

Cruz, who represents Texas, said some members of Congress had received a letter from the Chinese consulate asking them not to meet with Tsai during her stopovers.

“The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves,” Cruz said in a statement. “This is not about the PRC. This is about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend.”

China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, who it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations.

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The United States, which switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, has acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only “one China” and that Taiwan is part of it.”

Tsai scheduled stopovers in San Francisco and Houston on her way to visit allies in Central America, including Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Beijing had urged the United States not to let her into the country.

Cruz said he and the Taiwanese leader discussed upgrading bilateral relations and furthering economic cooperation between their countries, including increased access to Taiwanese markets that will benefit Texas ranchers, farmers and small businesses.

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Abbott said in a Twitter post that he also met with Tsai on Sunday and that they discussed “expanding trade and economic opportunities.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Julia Harte; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Orange County Republican under fire after 3 women come forward with #MeToo allegations of sexual misconduct

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Republicans in Orange County are in chaos after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced at a GOP endorsement meeting.

"As Orange County Republicans considered a 2020 endorsement last week for Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, one local official made a surprising public declaration," the Sacramento Bee reported Monday. "County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett accused Brough of making unwanted sexual advances during their time together on the Dana Point City Council."

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US foes are goading Trump because they know he’s a ‘blow-hard and full of bluster’: CNN analyst

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President Donald Trump walked back from the brink of atrocities last week, from calling off a military strike against Iran to pushing back planned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in major American cities.

On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told anchor Wolf Blitzer how foreign adversaries have been emboldened to challenge Trump — because for all his bombast, they know they are calling a bluff.

"I think Donald Trump is pretty well a known quantity at this point," said Toobin. "I mean, I think people around the world know he's a blowhard, knows he's full of bluster. But that's no reason to get into a war."

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New York Times admits they ‘downplayed’ the rape allegation against Trump

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On Monday, The New York Times issued a mea culpa for the nature of their coverage of the allegation by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll that President Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.

"After an article last week reported the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape allegations against President Trump, some readers accused The Times of downplaying the story," wrote staff editor Laura Takenaga. "Many have written to ask us why we didn't give the allegations more attention on our website and in print ... Some questioned whether the lack of prominence showed too much deference to the president's denials, or whether it even suggested misogyny or an unwillingness to believe a victim's account."

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