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."