US eyes possible trade deal with Taiwan: Blinken

Published : 08 Jun 2021 08:41 PM

AFP, Washington

The United States will soon start discussing a trade deal with Taiwan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday, risking Beijing’s wrath.

“I know we are engaged in conversations with Taiwan, or soon will be, on some kind of framework agreement,” Blinken said at a congressional hearing in Washington.

“And those conversations should be starting,” he stressed.

He said that US Trade Representative Katherine Tai would be the one to offer any details on these future negotiations.

The possibility of a US trade deal with Taiwan is likely to infuriate Beijing, which sees the democratic, self-ruled island as part of its territory which is to be seized one day, by force if necessary, and rages at any diplomatic attempts to recognize it as an independent nation.

Though Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 to recognize Beijing as China’s sole official representative, the United States remains Taiwan’s most powerful ally and its top arms supplier. 

“We are committed to the proposition that Taiwan must have the means to defend itself, and that is consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act,” Blinken stressed on Monday. “We’ve continued to provide significant equipment and sales to Taiwan for that purpose.

“We have real concerns about the increased aggression that the government in Beijing has shown toward Taiwan,” Blinken added.