Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Houston Sunday afternoon to continue an ongoing discussion on how the U.S., with President-elect Donald Trump's leadership, can continue improving diplomatic relations with the island nation.
The Republican senator said in a news release that during Sunday's meeting, they discussed how they might improve bilateral relations and that they touched on several areas, including arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations.
Abbott said in a separate statement that they discussed energy, trade relations and commercial ties between Taiwan and Texas.
However, Cruz's meeting did not come without controversy, mainly from the Chinese, who urged Cruz not to meet with Tsai, saying that it would violate America's "One China" policy.
But Cruz didn't care — and he let China know.
"Shortly before our meeting, the Houston congressional delegation received a curious letter from the Chinese consulate asking members of Congress not to meet with President Tsai, and to uphold the ‘One-China policy,'" Cruz explained in a statement after the meeting.
Then Cruz dropped a few truth bombs.
"The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves," he said. "This is not about the PRC. This is about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend."
"The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit," Cruz added.
Cruz met Tsai in Houston as she travels through the U.S. this weekend before heading to Central America. The sit-down follows a phone call late last year between Trump and Tsai after Trump won the presidential election.
That call is widely believed to be the first between a U.S. president or president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since 1979, when diplomatic relations between the two countries were cut off. Ever since Gen. Chiang Kai-shek fled mainland China to Taiwan in 1949, China has regarded Taiwan, a nearly 14,000 square-mile island off its coast, as a renegade province that should be returned to China.
The U.S. adopted a "One China" policy to help facilitate diplomacy with Beijing, and now Chinese officials warn that the U.S. is on a path to abandoning it.
"The US-Taiwan relationship is not on the negotiating table. It is bound in statute and founded on common interests," Cruz concluded in his statement. "I look forward to working with President Tsai to strengthen our partnership."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.