Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin plans to meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen as part of a trade mission to Asia from April 24 to April 29. The Republican leader hopes to foster economic development opportunities, shared priorities, and national security with strategic allies Japan and South Korea in addition to Taiwan.
Youngkin has shown a tougher stance on China, opposing the construction of a Ford Motor Co. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. battery plant due to its possible undermining of the US auto industry. His trip to Asia and meeting with Taiwan’s president is likely to raise tensions further and create a tricky balancing act for President Joe Biden’s administration.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is also meeting with Tsai, prompting a warning from China as it tries to maintain control over the region. This visit is more muted than the reaction of last year when Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, showing Prime Minister Tsai’s willingness to forge closer ties with the US.
Youngkin himself has said he is focused on Virginia politics, but his participation in a recent CNN town hall on education and other efforts have raised his national profile. His governorship victory in a state that has not supported Republican presidential candidates in the last four elections has solidified his stature as a figure within the party.
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) is a Chinese based battery and technology company with manufacturing sites throughout Asia. CATL is the world’s largest supplier of rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and specializes in producing such components as battery cells, packs, and other batteries. The company has partnered up with major companies such as Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen to develop batteries for electric vehicles, and it has recently invested in a joint venture with Ford Motor Co. to create a multi-billion dollar plant in Michigan.
Governor Glenn Youngkin is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender and is currently the 72nd Governor of Virginia. He previously held the title of co-CEO of The Carlyle Group Inc., one of the world’s largest private equity and investment companies. Youngkin has emerged as a powerful voice within the Republican Party, raising concerns about Chinese investments in his state, removing Virginia from consideration for the site of a proposed electric-vehicle battery plant planned by Ford and CATL, and advocating for shared priorities and national security abroad.