John Deng talks to US’ Tai

The meeting showed that the US has a strong commitment to developing economic ties, the Taiwanese official told media after their talks in Bangkok

Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) discussed ways to deepen economic ties the same week. China’s top diplomat warned Washington it was “on the wrong track” in supporting Taiwan.

Deng and Tai “discussed ways to deepen economic ties, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for their workers and companies,” the US Trade Representative’s office said in an emailed statement Friday.

They met yesterday in Bangkok on the sidelines of a gathering of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Photo: CNA

The pair “directed their teams to explore concrete avenues for deepening US-Taiwan trade and investment ties and will meet again in the coming weeks to discuss the way forward,” the US statement said.

They had met virtually at least twice before, including last month, since Tai became a sales representative in March of last year.

The meeting comes as US President Joe Biden embarks on a five-day trip to Asia, where he is seeking to increase engagement with regional allies to meet China’s economic and security challenges.

Earlier this week, more than 50 US senators wrote to Biden, urging him to include Taiwan as a partner in the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework his administration plans to introduce during the trip.

The Taiwanese delegation reiterated Taipei’s long-held goal of signing a free trade agreement with the US, Deng said in a phone interview.

“The meeting showed that the US has a strong commitment to finding a way forward in a very concrete way to develop our economic relationship,” he said, describing the meeting as “very positive.”

Fourteen Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Friday, the defense ministry said on its website.

Beijing often uses such activities to express its displeasure with official Taiwan-US interactions.

The US has increased its support for Taiwan since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, with a group of senior senators including US Senator Lindsey Graham visiting last month.

China responded to this trip by conducting air and naval training near Taiwan.

Figures on both sides of the Pacific have raised the possibility of allowing Taiwan to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the Biden administration’s key initiative to counter Chinese influence in Asia.

The two sides did not touch the scope during yesterday’s meeting because the US Trade Office is not yet authorized to discuss Taiwan’s participation, Deng said.

In a phone conversation with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan this week, Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), Beijing’s top diplomat, the director of the US Central Commission on Foreign Affairs, said if the US “insists on the Taiwan -Playing card, and keep going down the wrong path, it will surely lead the situation to a dangerous point.”

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