Taiwan and the United States announced a new trade initiative, drawing an angry response from China Thursday amid rising tensions over the self-governing island. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
June 2 (UPI) -- The United States and Taiwan announced an initiative meant to strengthen economic ties on the heels of a Washington-led regional trade pact that excluded Taipei.
The U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, unveiled Wednesday, officially kicks off trade negotiations between the countries.
The agreement "is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth," the Office of the United States Trade Representative said in a statement.
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang said Thursday at a cabinet meeting that the initiative "draws a complete roadmap for the signing of a Taiwan-U.S. trade agreement."
"Taiwan has an indispensable key position in the global supply chain," Su said. "The U.S. government realizes that it must strengthen economic and trade links with our country in order to consolidate the resilience and security of the global supply chain."
Taiwan is one of the world's largest producers of semiconductors and other electronic components, accounting for more than 60% of the global contract chip manufacturing market.
The talks come a week after U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled his administration's long-awaited regional economic plan, the 13-country Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, or IPEF.
Taiwan was not invited to join the IPEF, amid reports that some member countries were concerned its inclusion would antagonize China.
Beijing considers the self-governing island a wayward province and has worked to isolate Taipei diplomatically and exclude it from international organizations.
China's Commerce Ministry voiced "strong objections" to the U.S.-Taiwan initiative on Thursday.
Washington should "prudently handle its economic and trade relations with Taiwan region and avoid sending wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces," ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, according to state-run television network CGTN.
Beijing has opposed official exchanges between Taiwan and other countries, "including the signing of any economic and trade agreement with sovereign connotations," Gao said.
President Biden sparked an angry outcry in Beijing last week when he said that the United States would come to Taiwan's aid militarily if China launched an invasion.
Beijing also protested a visit by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth this week to discuss regional security and trade issues with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
China has ramped up its military provocations against Taiwan in recent weeks and warned Wednesday of "serious consequences" if Washington continued to strengthen ties with Taipei.