WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Thursday signed a trade deal with Taiwan despite opposition from China, which claims the self-governing island democracy as part of its territory.
The two governments say the US-Taiwanese 21st Century Trade Initiative will strengthen trade relations by improving customs, investment and other regulations.
The measure was signed by employees of unofficial entities that maintain relations between the United States and Taiwan, a center of the high-tech industry. They do not have formal diplomatic relations but maintain unofficial relations and have billions of dollars in annual trade.
The agreement aims to “strengthen and deepen economic and trade relations,” the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement. USTR Congresswoman Sarah Bianchi attended the signing.
The Chinese government has accused Washington of violating Taiwan’s status agreements and demanded that the US government cease all official contact with the island’s elected government.
Taiwan and China separated in 1949 after a civil war. The island was never part of the People’s Republic of China, but the mainland’s ruling Communist Party says it is compelled to unite with China, by force if necessary.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government has stepped up efforts to intimidate Taiwan by flying fighter jets and bombers near the island. American and European politicians have traveled to Taiwan to show their support for its elected government.
“The United States should stop all forms of official exchanges with Taiwan” and “refrain from sending the wrong signals to the secessionist forces of ‘Taiwan independence,'” a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Foreign Affairs, Mao Ning.
Office of the United States Trade Representative: https://ustr.gov/