Home » US and Taiwan sign trade agreement. The wrath of China

US and Taiwan sign trade agreement. The wrath of China

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US and Taiwan sign trade agreement.  The wrath of China

Taiwan welcomed yesterday’s signing of the new trade agreement with the US designed to deepen economic ties, but inevitably destined to irritate China which claims full sovereignty over the island destined for reunification even by force, if necessary. “It is a new beginning”, commented the spokesman of the Taipei cabinet, Alan Lin, attributing to the agreement a “historic significance”, in the context of a framework of bilateral talks called “US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade” . “Taiwan will continue to move towards a comprehensive FTA with the United States to ensure our economic security,” Lin added.

Yesterday, in view of the signing, China had warned Washington not to approve any pact characterized by “connotations of sovereignty or of an official nature with the Chinese region of Taiwan”, warned the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Mao Ning, urging the US to “Don’t send the wrong signals to Taiwan’s pro-independence forces in the name of trade.” The pact is “intended to strengthen and deepen economic and trade relations” between the parties, said Sam Michel, spokesman for the US Trade Representative.

The move is intended to boost trade levels by streamlining customs controls, improving regulatory procedures and establishing anti-corruption measures between the US and Taiwan. The agreement was signed by representatives of the American Institute of Taiwan (the de facto US embassy in Taipei) and the Office of Economic and Cultural Representative of Taipei to the United States (the island’s de facto diplomatic mission) on the eve of the Shangri-La Dialogue’s annual security summit, scheduled in Singapore from today to 4 June. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu are attending the event, but they shouldn’t have – as in past years – a bilateral meeting.

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Austin, after seeing his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada in Tokyo yesterday, expressed disappointment and regret at Beijing’s decision to refuse the meeting: “It is important – he said – that countries with significant capabilities talk to each other in order to manage crises and prevent things from unnecessarily spiraling out of control.

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