Asia news: On Friday, the US and Taiwan held talks to improve their economic ties in the face of growing pressure from mainland China on the island, which was hailed by the Taiwanese side as a promising move forward.
The talks were conducted remotely and in person under the auspices of a new Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, led on the US side by Undersecretary of State Keith Krach, who angered China with his September visit to Taipei.
Chen Chern-chyi, Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs, took a delegation to Washington for the discussions.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to create a “institutionalised dialogue mechanism” in a statement from the Taiwan Representative Office in Washington.
“A wide range of issues, including science and technology, restructuring of the supply chain, 5G networks, investment review, infrastructure and energy, global health security and women’s economic empowerment, were also discussed by both sides,” it said.
Ensure Secure of The Supply Chains And 5G
There was no immediate comment from the US side, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in announcing the dialogue this month that the talks will include efforts to ensure safe and secure supply chains and 5G security.
The dialogue that Taiwan’s self-governed aspirations may ultimately lead to a free-trade agreement is part of the increased US engagement with Taipei under US President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration, which has angered Beijing.
China claims to be running Taiwan democratically as its own territory and responded with fury when US Secretary of Health Alex Azar visited Taipei in August, followed by Krach in September, each time sending fighter jets close to the island.
Since Washington transferred official diplomatic recognition to the mainland in 1979, Azar was the most senior US official to visit Taiwan and Krach was the most senior State Department official to visit in those four decades.
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US, Taiwan hold talks on strengthening economic ties