President Joe Biden will meet Monday with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of next week’s Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, a face-to-face meeting that comes amid increasingly strained U.S.-China relations, the White House announced Thursday. It will be the first in-person meeting between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies since Biden became president in January 2021 and comes weeks after Xi was awarded a norm-breaking third, five-year term as the Chinese Communist Party leader during the party’s national congress. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement the leaders will meet to “discuss efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between” the two countries and to "responsibly manage competition and work together where our interests align, especially on transnational challenges that affect the international community.” The White House has been working with Chinese officials over the last several weeks to arrange the meeting. Biden on Wednesday told reporters that he intended to discuss with Xi growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, trade policies, Beijing’s relationship with Russia and more. “What I want to do with him when we talk is lay out what each of our red lines are and understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States,” Biden said. “And determine whether or not they conflict with one another.” Read more: Biden, Trump to make final appeals ahead of crucial midterms The White House sought to downplay expectations for the meeting, telling reporters there was no joint communique or deliverables anticipated from the sit-down. “I don’t think you should look at this meeting as one in which there’s going to be specific deliverables announced," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. "Rather the two leaders are going to give direction to their teams to work on a number of areas, both areas where we have differences and areas where we can work together.” Biden and Xi traveled together in the U.S. and China in 2011 and 2012 when both leaders were serving as their respective countries' vice presidents, and they have held five phone or video calls since Biden became president in January 2021. But the U.S.-China relationship has become far more complicated since those getting-to-know-you talks in Washington and on the Tibetan plateau a decade ago. As president, Biden has repeatedly taken China to task for human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities, Beijing’s crackdowns on democracy activists in Hong Kong, coercive trade practices, military provocations against self-ruled Taiwan and differences over Russia’s prosecution of its war against Ukraine. Weeks before Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president met with Xi in Beijing and the two issued a memorandum expressing hopes of a “no limits” relationship for their nations. China has largely refrained from criticizing Russia’s war but thus far has held off on supplying Moscow with arms. Read more: Amidst recession fears, Biden has to convince Americans job gains mean better days ahead “I don’t think there’s a lot of respect that China has for Russia or Putin,” Biden said Wednesday. “And in fact, they’ve been sort of keeping the distance a little bit.” The leaders were also expected to address U.S. frustrations that Beijing has not used its influence to press North Korea to pull back from conducting provocative missile tests and to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Biden was set to discuss threats from North Korea with the leaders of South Korea and Japan a day before sitting down with Xi. Sullivan said Biden would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Seok Yeol on Sunday on the margins of the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, where North Korea's saber rattling is expected to be the focus of talks. Xi’s government has criticized the Biden administration’s posture toward Taiwan — which Beijing looks eventually to unify with the communist mainland — as undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese president also has suggested that Washington wants to stifle Beijing’s growing clout as it tries to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. Tensions over Taiwan have grown since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August. Biden said that he’s “not willing to make any fundamental concessions” about the United States’ Taiwan doctrine. Under its “One China” policy, the United States recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. It takes a stance of “strategic ambiguity” toward the defense of Taiwan — leaving open the question of whether it would respond militarily were the island attacked. Asked about the anticipated meeting, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a Thursday news briefing that China was looking for “win-win cooperation with the U.S.” while reiterating Beijing’s concerns about the U.S. stance on Taiwan. “The U.S. needs to stop obscuring, hollowing out and distorting the One China principle, abide by the basic norms in international relations, including respecting other countries’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs,” he said. Biden caused a stir in Asia in May when at a news conference in Tokyo, said “yes” when asked if he was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded. The White House and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were quick to clarify that there was no change in U.S. policy. Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make the island’s decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step U.S. leaders say they don’t support. Pelosi is the highest-ranking elected American official to visit since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997. Xi has stayed close to home throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, where he has enforced a “zero-COVID” policy that has resulted in mass lockdowns that have roiled the global supply chains. He made his first trip outside China since start of the pandemic in September with a stop in Kazakhstan and then onto Uzbekistan to take part in the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Putin and other leaders of the Central Asian security group. U.S. officials were eager to see how Xi approaches the meeting after being newly empowered with a third term and consolidating his position as the unquestioned leader of the state, saying they would wait to assess whether that made him more or less likely to seek out areas of cooperation with the U.S. They emphasized that party congress results reinforced the importance of direct engagement with Xi, rather than lower level officials whom they’ve found unable or unwilling to speak for the Chinese leader. Sullivan says it “remains to be seen” what impact Xi's cementing another five years as Communist Party leader will have on his approach to the U.S.-China relationship.
Xi Jinping said on Sunday (October 16, 2022) that the Communist Party of China (CPC) will implement its overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and unswervingly advance the cause of national reunification. "Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese," said Xi at the opening session of the 20th CPC National Congress. "We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary. This is directed solely at interference by outside forces and the few separatists seeking 'Taiwan independence' and their separatist activities; it is by no means targeted at our Taiwan compatriots," he said. Read China’s Communist Party conference starts: Xi expected to receive a third term Xi said that the wheels of history are rolling on toward China's reunification and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. "Complete reunification of our country must be realized, and it can, without doubt, be realized!" "We will encourage people on both sides of the Strait to work together to promote Chinese culture and forge closer bonds," Xi said. "We will encourage people on both sides of the Strait to work together to promote Chinese culture and forge closer bonds," he said. "We have always shown respect and care for our Taiwan compatriots and worked to deliver benefits to them. We will continue to promote economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Strait," Xi Jinping said at 20th CPC National Congress regarding the resolvation of the Taiwan question. Read US would defend Taiwan against Chinese invasion: Biden
President Joe Biden says U.S. forces would defend Taiwan if China tries to invade the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing as part of its territory, adding to displays of official American support for the island democracy. Biden said “yes” when asked during an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News's “60 Minutes” program whether “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion." CBS News reported the White House said after the interview U.S. policy hasn't changed. That policy says Washington wants to see Taiwan's status resolved peacefully but doesn't say whether U.S. forces might be sent in response to a Chinese attack. Tension is rising following efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping's government to intimidate Taiwan by firing missiles into the nearby sea and flying fighter jets nearby and visits to Taipei by political figures including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Monday expressed “sincere gratitude” to Biden for “affirming the U.S. government’s rock-solid promise of security to Taiwan.” Taiwan will “resist authoritarian expansion and aggression” and “deepen the close security partnership” with Washington and other governments “with similar thinking” to protect regional stability, the statement said. Washington is obligated by federal law to see that Taiwan has the means to defend itself but doesn't say whether U.S. forces would be sent. The United States has no formal relations with the island but maintains informal diplomatic ties. Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that ended with the Communist Party in control of the mainland. The two governments say they are one country but dispute which is entitled to be the national leader. Beijing criticizes official foreign contact with Taiwan's elected government as encouragement to make its de facto independence permanent, a step the mainland says would lead to war. Washington says it doesn't support formal independence for Taiwan, a stance Biden repeated in the interview broadcast Sunday. “Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence,” the president said. “We’re not encouraging their being independent.” In May, Biden said “yes” when asked at a news conference in Tokyo whether he was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded.
Taiwan's president told the self-ruled island's military units Tuesday to keep their cool in the face of daily warplane flights and warship maneuvers by rival China, saying that Taiwan will not allow Beijing to provoke a conflict. China has kept up military pressure on Taiwan in the weeks following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in early August. Beijing initially retaliated with large military drills in the waters and skies near Taiwan. It fired missiles over the island, some of which landed in Japan’s economic zone, considered a serious escalation, while also sending warships and planes toward the island in large numbers. President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan must remain restrained despite the daily pressure from China. “The more provocative enemy soldiers are, the more stable we need to be. We will not allow those on the opposing banks to manufacture a conflict with an inappropriate excuse,” she said during a visit to the navy's station on Penghu, an archipelago of several dozen islands off Taiwan's western coast. She also inspected a radar squadron, an air defense company, and a navy fleet. At the Magong air base, she was greeted by pilots standing in front of a Taiwanese-made Indigenous Defense Force fighter jet. “You are the pride of the Taiwanese people,” Tsai said. “When each Taiwanese person sees you in the national military uniform, everyone’s hearts are filled with respect and gratitude.” China accuses the U.S. and Taiwanese “separatist forces” for creating instability by rejecting Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over the island. Read: US sails warships through Taiwan Strait in 1st since Pelosi “The Taiwan independence forces’ attempt to solicit foreign support, including that of the U.S., for independence is the source of current tensions across the Taiwan Strait,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing in Beijing. Zhao also criticized the visit of Guatemalan Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro to Taiwan on Tuesday. “The Taiwanese ... authority has been using the so-called countries with diplomatic ties for political manipulation. These are nothing but self-deceiving tricks and cannot block the historical trend that China will be fully reunified," he added. Bucaro met with Tsai earlier Tuesday and reaffirmed his country's support of Taiwan. Guatemala is one of Taiwan's 14 remaining diplomatic allies. “Guatemala will always support Taiwan because we have very firm belief in the principles of peace, sovereignty, and territorial integrity," he said. “The Guatemalan government strongly believes that people have the right to enjoy peace in their lives, and the right to live in peace is not negotiable.” While China's biggest maneuvers, which had disrupted fishing, shipping and air traffic, are over, Beijing has kept up the pressure in recent weeks with daily flights by warplanes and warship navigations, often over the median line of the Taiwan Strait, a waterway that separates the island from China. Taiwan has responded by tracking the ships and the planes, issued warnings and used its missile systems to monitor the other side's movements. China has also sent drones flying over the Kinmen islands, which are closest to China, in the latest escalation. A video that went viral last week showed two soldiers staring up at the drone from an outpost in an outlying island in Kinmen before attempting to strike it down with a rock. This weekend, another video published online allegedly showed a Chinese drone flying around a different outlying island. A spokesperson for Kinmen's army unit said in a statement Monday that Taiwan would take a four-step measure to deal with drones in the future, which involves warning it off, reporting the incursion, expelling the drone, and finally shooting it down if it doesn't leave.
The U.S. Navy is sailing two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, in the first such transit publicized since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier in August, at a time when tensions have kept the waterway particularly busy. The USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville are conducting a routine transit, the U.S. 7th Fleet said. The cruisers “transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,” the statement said. China conducted many military exercises in the strait as it sought to punish Taiwan after Pelosi visited the self-ruled island against Beijing's threats. Read:Taiwan: China, Russia disrupting, threatening world order China has sent many warships sailing in the Taiwan Strait and waters surrounding Taiwan since Pelosi's visit, as well as sending warplanes and firing long-range missiles. It views the island as part of its national territory and opposes any visits by foreign governments as recognizing Taiwan as its own state. The U.S. regularly sends its ships through the Taiwan Strait as part of what it calls freedom of navigation maneuvers. The 100 mile-wide (160 kilometer-wide) strait divides Taiwan from China.
Taiwan’s leader on Friday said China and Russia are “disrupting and threatening the world order” through Beijing’s recent large-scale military exercises near the island and Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. President Tsai Ing-wen was speaking during a meeting in Taipei with U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who is on the second visit by members of Congress since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip earlier this month. That visit prompted China to launch the exercises that saw it fire numerous missiles and send dozens of warplanes and ships to virtually surround the island, including across the center line in the Taiwan Strait that has long been a buffer between the sides. China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary. Beijing has also boosted relations with Russia and is seen as tacitly supporting its attack on Ukraine. “These developments demonstrate how authoritarian countries are disrupting and threatening the world order,” Tsai said. Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, reaffirmed shared values between the two governments and said she “looked forward to continuing to support Taiwan as they push forward as an independent nation.” China sees high-level foreign visits to the island as interference in its affairs and de facto recognition of Taiwanese sovereignty. China’s recent military drills were seen by some as a rehearsal of future military action against the island, which U.S. military leaders say could come within the next few years. Along with staging the exercises, China cut off contacts with the United States on vital issues — including military matters and crucial climate cooperation — raising concerns over a lasting, more aggressive approach by Beijing. It also called in U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to formally complain. He later said China was overreacting in order to manufacture a crisis. Due to the separation of powers in the U.S. government, the executive branch has no authority to prevent legislators from making such foreign visits and Taiwan benefits from strong bipartisan support in Washington. China, whose ruling Communist Party wields total control over the country's politics, refuses to acknowledge that fundamental principle. U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said members of Congress and elected officials “have gone to Taiwan for decades and will continue to do so," saying it was in line with U.S. policy to only maintain formal diplomatic ties with Beijing. “We’re going to continue to take calm and resolute steps to uphold peace and stability in the region and to support Taiwan in line with our longstanding policy," Patel said at a briefing Thursday Read: Indiana governor in Taiwan following high-profile US visits Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters Friday that “China’s motivation is to destroy the Taiwan Straits' status quo, and after this they want to cut down on Taiwan’s defensive space." Taiwan is seeking stepped-up defense cooperation and additional weaponry from the U.S., along with closer economic ties. In their meeting, Tsai and Blackburn underscored the importance of economic links, especially in the semiconductor sector, where Taiwan is a world leader and the U.S. is seeking greater investment at home. Blackburn arrived in Taipei late Thursday after visiting Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea as part of a U.S. push to “expand our diplomatic footprint in the area,” her office said in a statement. “The Indo-Pacific region is the next frontier for the new axis of evil,” Blackburn, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, was quoted as saying. “We must stand against the Chinese Communist Party.” China has been making inroads in the western Pacific, signing a broad security agreement with the Solomons that the U.S. and allies such as Australia see as an attempt to overthrow the traditional security order in the region. Pelosi was the highest-level member of the U.S. government to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China’s response was to announce six zones surrounding the island for military exercises that included firing missiles over the island, some of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Following Pelosi’s trip, a delegation of House and Senate members visited. This week, Indiana’s governor made a visit focused on business and academic cooperation. U.S politicians have called their visits a show of support for the island. “I just landed in Taiwan to send a message to Beijing — we will not be bullied,” said Blackburn in a tweet early morning Friday. “The United States remains steadfast in preserving freedom around the globe, and will not tolerate efforts to undermine our nation and our allies.” During her three-day visit, Blackburn is also due to meet with the head of Taiwan’s National Security Council. Washington has no official diplomatic ties with Taipei in deference to China, but remains the island’s biggest security guarantor, with U.S. law requiring it ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself and to regard threats to the island as matters of “grave concern.” Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war and have no official relations but are bound by billions of dollars of trade and investment. China has increased its pressure on Taiwan since it elected independence-leaning Tsai as its president. When Tsai refused to endorse the concept of a single Chinese nation, China cut off contact with the Taiwanese government. U.S. congressional visits to the island have stepped up in frequency in the past year. On Thursday, the executive branch of Taiwan’s government laid out plans for a 12.9% increase in the Defense Ministry’s annual budget next year. The government is planning to spend an additional 47.5 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.6 billion), for a total of 415.1 billion NTD ($13.8 billion) for the year. The Defense Ministry said the increase is due to the “Chinese Communists’ continued expansion of targeted military activities in recent years, the normalization of their harassment of Taiwan’s nearby waters and airspace with warships and war planes.” Also Thursday, the Defense Ministry said it tracked four Chinese naval ships and 15 warplanes in the region surrounding the island.
Indiana's Republican governor met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen Monday morning, following two recent high-profile visits by U.S. politicians that drew China's ire and Chinese military drills that included firing missiles over the island. Gov. Eric Holcomb arrived Sunday evening in Taiwan for a four-day visit that will focus on economic exchange, particularly semiconductors, according to a statement from his office. His visit is coming at a tense moment for Taiwan, China and the U.S. after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month. China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory and views exchanges with foreign governments as an infringement on its claims. Tsai acknowledged the tensions in her opening remarks ahead of their meeting Monday morning and welcomed further exchanges. “In the midst of this, Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China, in and around the Taiwan Strait. At this moment, democratic allies must stand together and boost cooperation in all areas," Tsai said. “Building on our existing foundation of collaboration, I look forward to our supporting one another, and advancing hand in hand, forging closer relations and creating even deeper cooperation.” Read: US to hold trade talks with Taiwan, island drills military In response to Pelosi's visit, China's military held several days of exercises that included warplanes flying toward the island and warships sailing across the midline of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer between the island and mainland. China also imposed visa bans and other sanctions on several Taiwanese political figures, though it’s unclear what effect the sanctions would have. Holcomb emphasized the economic nature of his visit, mentioning that the state is among the top in the U.S. for direct foreign investment and was home to 10 Taiwanese companies. “We both seek to deepen and enhance our already excellent cooperation that we've established over the years,” he said. Holcomb will also meet representatives of the semiconductor industry, and is expected to promote academic and tech cooperation between Taiwan and the state of Indiana. The delegation is meeting with National Yang-Ming University and National Cheng Kung University as part of the exchange. He is traveling with officials from the state's economic development council, as well as the dean of engineering at Purdue University, an institution which has just established a semiconductors degree program. He will visit South Korea next.
The U.S. 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.” The announcement of trade talks comes after Beijing fired missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this month became the highest-ranking American official to visit the island in 25 years. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government criticized the planned talks as a violation of its stance that Taiwan has no right to foreign relations. 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. She called 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. Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war and have no official relations but are 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 is obliged to unite with the mainland, by force if necessary. President Joe 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 United States has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, its ninth-largest trading partner, but maintains extensive informal ties. Read: US Congress members meet Taiwan leader amid China anger The U.S. Trade Representative’s announcement of the talks made no mention of tension with Beijing but said “formal negotiations” would develop trade and regulatory ties, a step that would entail closer official interaction. Being allowed to export more to the United States 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. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed “high welcome” for the trade talks, which it said will lead to a “new page” in relations with the United States. “As the situation across the Taiwan Strait has recently escalated, the U.S. government will continue to take concrete actions to maintain security and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” it said in a statement. U.S.-Chinese relations are at their lowest level in decades amid disputes over trade, security, technology, and Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minorities and Hong Kong. The U.S. Trade Representative said negotiations would be conducted under the auspices of Washington’s unofficial embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan. “China always opposes any form of official exchanges between any country and the Taiwan region of China,” said Shu, the Chinese spokesperson. “China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty.” Washington says it takes no position on the status of China and Taiwan but wants their dispute settled peacefully. The U.S. government is obligated by federal law to see that the island has the means to defend itself. “We will continue to take calm and resolute steps to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine it, and to support Taiwan,” Campbell said during a conference call last Friday. China takes more than twice as much of Taiwan’s exports as the United States, its No. 2 foreign market. Taiwan’s government says its companies have invested almost $200 billion in the mainland. Beijing says a 2020 census found some 158,000 Taiwanese entrepreneurs, professionals and others live on the mainland. China’s ban on imports of citrus, fish and hundreds of other Taiwanese food products hurt rural areas seen as supporters of President Tsai Ing-wen, but those goods account for less than 0.5% of Taiwan’s exports to the mainland. Beijing did nothing that might affect the flow of processor chips from Taiwan that are needed by Chinese factories that assemble the world’s smartphones and consumer electronics. The island is the world’s biggest chip supplier. A second group of U.S. lawmakers led by Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, arrived on Taiwan on Sunday and met with Tsai. Beijing announced a second round of military drills after their arrival. Taiwan, with 23.6 million people, has launched its own military drills in response. On Thursday, drills at Hualien Air Base on the east coast simulated a response to a Chinese missile attack. Military personnel practiced with Taiwanese-made Sky Bow 3 anti-aircraft missiles and 35mm anti-aircraft cannon but didn’t fire them. “We didn’t panic” when China launched military drills, said air force Maj. Chen Teh-huan. “Our usual training is to be on call 24 hours a day to prepare for missile launches,” Chen said. “We were ready.” The U.S.-Taiwanese talks also will cover agriculture, labor, the environment, digital technology, the status of state-owned enterprises and “non-market policies,” the U.S. Trade Representative said. Washington and Beijing are locked in a 3-year-old tariff war over many of the same issues. They include China’s support for government companies that dominate many of its industries and complaints that Beijing steals foreign technology and limits access to an array of fields in violation of its market-opening commitments. Then-President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese goods in 2019 in response to complaints that its technology development tactics violate its free-trade commitments and threaten U.S. industrial leadership. Biden has left most of those tariff hikes in place.
The U.S. government plans talks with Taiwan on a wide-ranging trade treaty in a sign of support for the self-ruled island democracy claimed by China’s ruling Communist Party as part of its territory. The announcement Thursday comes after Beijing held military drills that included firing missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan following this month’s visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office made no mention of tension with Beijing but said the “formal negotiations” were meant to enhance trade and regulatory cooperation, which would entail closer official interaction. President Joe Biden’s coordinator for the Indo-Pacific region, Kurt Campbell, told reporters last week that trade talks would be part of efforts to “deepen our ties with Taiwan,” though he said U.S. policy wasn’t changing. Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war. The island never has been part of the People’s Republic of China, but the Communist Party says it is obliged to united politically with the mainland, by force if necessary. The United States has no official relations with Taiwan but maintains extensive ties through its unofficial embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan. Read: US Congress members meet Taiwan leader amid China anger Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government says official contact with Taiwan such as Pelosi’s Aug. 2 one-day visit might embolden the island to try to make its decade-old de facto independence permanent, a step Beijing says would lead to war. Washington says it takes no position on the status of China and Taiwan but wants their dispute settled peacefully. The U.S. government is obligated by federal law to see that the island has the means to defend itself. “We will continue to take calm and resolute steps to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine it, and to support Taiwan,” Campbell said during a conference call last Friday. A second group of U.S. lawmakers led by Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, arrived on Taiwan on Sunday and met with President Tsai Ing-wen. Beijing announced a second round of military drills following their arrival. Beijing had no immediate reaction to the trade talks announcement. The talks also will cover agriculture, labor, the environment, digital technology, the status of state-owned enterprises and “non-market policies,” the USTR said. It gave no indication which officials would be involved but said talks would be held under the auspices of the American Institute and Taiwan’s informal embassy, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. U.S.-Chinese relations are their lowest level in decades amid disputes about security, technology, Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minorities and its crackdown in Hong Kong. They are are locked in a 3-year-old tariff war over disputes in many of the areas mentioned in Thursday’s announcement. They include China’s support for government companies that dominate many of its industries and complaints Beijing steals foreign technology and hampers foreign competitors in an array of fields in violation of its market-opening commitments. Then-President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese goods in 2019 in response to complaints its technology development tactics violate its free-trade commitments and threaten U.S. industrial leadership. President Joe Biden has left most of those tariff hikes in place. Taiwan, with 24 million people, is the ninth-largest U.S. trading partner and the 10th-largest U.S. export market, according to the USTR. The State Department describes it as a “key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific.” Taiwan is the main global source of processor chips for smartphones, medical devices, autos and home appliances, as well as industrial components used by factories in China and other Asian countries..
China imposed visa bans and other sanctions Tuesday on Taiwanese political figures as it raises pressure on the self-governing island and the U.S. in response to successive congressional visits. The sanctions come a day after China set more military exercises in the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan in response to what it called “collusion and provocation between the U.S. and Taiwan.” There's been no word on the timing and scale of the Chinese exercises. They were announced the same day a U.S. congressional delegation met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, and after a similar visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-level member of the U.S. government to visit Taiwan in 25 years. The Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any official contact with foreign governments because it considers Taiwan its own territory, and its recent saber rattling has emphasized its threat to take the island by military force. Pelosi's visit was followed by nearly two weeks of threatening Chinese military exercises that included the firing of missiles over the island and incursions by navy ships and warplanes across the midline of the Taiwan Strait that has long been a buffer between the sides. In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that China had overreacted with its "provocative and totally unnecessary response to the congressional delegation that visited Taiwan earlier this month.” The targets of China's latest sanctions include Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the U.S., Bi-khim Hsiao and legislators Ker Chien-ming, Koo Li-hsiung, Tsai Chi-chang, Chen Jiau-hua and Wang Ting-yu, along with activist Lin Fei-fan. Read: US Congress members meet Taiwan leader amid China anger They will be barred from traveling to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, and from having any financial or personal connections with people and entities in those areas, according to the ruling Communist Party’s Taiwan Work Office. The measures were designed to “resolutely punish" those considered “diehard elements" supporting Taiwan's independence, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Premier Su Tseng-chang, leader of the Legislature You Si-kun and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu were already on China's sanctions list and will face more restrictions, Xinhua said. China exercises no legal authority over Taiwan and it's unclear what effect the sanctions would have. China has refused all contact with Taiwan's government since shortly after the 2016 election of Tsai, who was overwhelmingly reelected in 2020. Tsai's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party also controls the legislature, and the vast majority of Taiwanese favor maintaining the status-quo of de facto independence amid strong economic and social connections between the sides. China accuses the U.S. of encouraging the island’s independence through the sale of weapons and engagement between U.S. politicians and the island’s government. Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal diplomatic ties with the island and maintains that the two sides should settle their dispute peacefully — but it is legally bound to ensure the island can defend itself against any attack. Taiwan has put its military on alert, but has taken no major countermeasures against the Chinese measures. That has been reflected in the overriding calm and large spread ambivalence among the public, who have lived under threat of Chinese attack from more than seven decades. Taiwan announced air force and ground-to-air missile drills for Thursday and Friday.