The US has announced it will begin formal trade negotiations with Taiwan, weeks after a controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Island.
Relations between the US and China have been increasingly tense following Pelosi’s visit early August.
After the visit, China launched its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan.
Under the “One China policy”, the US recognises and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan but maintains a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan, including continued arms sales to the island so that it can defend itself.
Beijing sees the self-governing island as its own, renegade territory that must be united with the mainland even if it means by military means.
However, Taiwan is a self-ruled island that sees itself as distinct from the mainland
According to the Office of US Trade Representative, the first round of talks are expected to begin in “early fall”.
The discussion will include talks on trade facilitation, digital trade and anti-corruption standards.
Trade between the US and Taiwan was worth nearly $106bn (£88bn) in 2020.
The US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade was first unveiled in June, with both sides now saying they had “reached consensus on the negotiating mandate”.
“We plan to pursue an ambitious schedule…. that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient 21st century economy,” said Deputy United States Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi in a statement.
Top US diplomat for East Asia Daniel Kritenbrink, recently said Beijing’s “growing coercion….threatens the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait”.
“We will continue to take calm, but resolute steps to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine it and to support Taiwan in line with our long-standing policy,” he said.
Taiwan has never been ruled by China, the self governed island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces