China urges US to stop boosting ties with Taiwan

Washington and Taipei are set to hold inaugural economic talks in the United States on November 20.

The US under-secretary for economic affairs, Keith Krach, who angered China with a visit to Taipei in September, will lead the US side in talks with Taiwan [File: Central News Agency/Pool via Reuters]

China has urged the United States to stop boosting ties with Taiwan after Washington and Taipei announced they would hold economic talks this month that Taiwan’s government described as a “major milestone” in relations.

China considers the self-ruled island of Taiwan its own territory with no right to form official ties with other countries and has watched with growing alarm as the US stepped up is support for the island, including new arms sales and visits to Taipei by senior US officials.

Taiwan will send a small delegation to Washington, led by Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chy, its government said, for November 20’s inaugural meeting of the US-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue.

US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, who angered China with a visit to Taipei in September, will lead the US side.

Speaking at a daily news briefing in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said they opposed any official exchanges between Washington and Taipei.

China urges the US to “stop any kind of official exchanges or contacts with Taiwan and stop elevating substantive relations”, he added.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry hailed the talks.

“This dialogue is a major milestone in Taiwan-US economic relations. It demonstrates that Taiwan and the United States will develop closer and broader cooperation under their global economic strategic partnership,” it said in a statement.

Krach was the most senior State Department official to visit Taiwan in four decades after being named to head a new bilateral economic dialogue with the island.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday that the talks would include ensuring safe and secure supply chains and 5G security.

“The dialogue signifies that our economic relationship with Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and a reliable partner, is strong and growing,” he added.

Taiwan has long sought a free trade agreement with the US.

While US President Donald Trump is a popular figure in Taiwan due to his administration’s support for the island, Taipei’s government has moved to assure people that President-elect Joe Biden will continue that backing.

“There may be changes in the US government and personnel, but we are confident in the continued development of Taiwan-US relations,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday, according to her Democratic Progressive Party.

Source: Reuters