The United States will soon begin discussions on a trade agreement with Taiwan, U.S. diplomatic chief Antony Blinken said Monday, June 7.
“I know that we are having discussions with Taiwan, or will begin discussions soon, on some form of the framework agreement. Those discussions should begin,” he said at a congressional hearing in Washington. But he referred to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for details on those future negotiations.
A possible trade agreement with Taipei would not sit well with China, which considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces and threatens to use force in the event of a formal declaration of independence or outside intervention.
“Taiwan must have the means to defend itself
Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 in order to recognize Beijing as China’s sole official representative. But the United States remains Taiwan’s most powerful ally and its largest arms supplier.
“Taiwan must have the means to defend itself,” Blinken said Monday. “We continue to provide significant equipment to Taiwan for this purpose,” he added, citing “real concerns about the Beijing government’s increasing aggression” toward the island.
In addition, a delegation of three U.S. senators landed in Taiwan on Sunday, announcing that Washington would give 750,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to its ally. Taiwan accuses China of obstructing its efforts to obtain treatment and vaccine as the island of 23.5 million people, which has so far received only 726,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and 150,000 doses of Moderna’s, faces a sudden outbreak.