China Fumes Over US' Latest Move on Taiwan

Country says it 'firmly opposes' formal trade talks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2022 10:25 AM CDT
China Fumes Over US' Latest Move on Taiwan
A US flag flutters at the American Institute, Washington's unofficial embassy, in Taipei, Taiwan, on Nov. 10.   (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

(Newser) – The US government will hold trade talks with Taiwan in a sign of support for the island democracy that China claims as its own territory, prompting Beijing to warn Thursday it will take action if necessary to "safeguard its sovereignty." Chinese President Xi Jinping's government criticized the planned talks as a violation of its stance that Taiwan has no right to foreign relations, per the AP. It warned Washington not to encourage the island to try to make its de facto independence permanent, a step Beijing says would lead to war. "China firmly opposes this," Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Shu Jueting said, calling on Washington to "fully respect China's core interests."

Also Thursday, Taiwan's military held a drill with missiles and cannons simulating a response to a Chinese missile attack. Beijing fired missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this month became the highest-ranking American official to visit the island in 25 years. Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war and have no official relations, but they're bound by billions of dollars of trade and investment. The island never has been part of the People's Republic of China, but the ruling Communist Party says it's obliged to unite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

President Biden's coordinator for the Indo-Pacific region, Kurt Campbell, said last week that trade talks would "deepen our ties with Taiwan" but stressed policy wasn't changing. The US has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, its ninth-largest trading partner, but maintains extensive informal ties. The US Trade Representative's announcement said "formal negotiations" would develop trade and regulatory ties, a step that would entail closer official interaction. Being allowed to export more to the US, its No. 2 foreign market, might help Taiwan blunt China's efforts to use its status as the island's biggest trading partner as political leverage. The mainland blocked imports of Taiwanese citrus and other food in retaliation for Pelosi's Aug. 2 visit. (Read more Taiwan stories.)

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