China criticizes US plan for trade deal with Taiwan

Updated June 1, 2023 at 7:12 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government criticized the United States’ plans to sign a trade treaty with Taiwan and called on Washington on Thursday to stop official contact with the self-ruled island democracy claimed by Beijing as part of its territory.

The agreement due to be signed Thursday comes amid increased Chinese efforts to intimidate Taiwan by flying fighter jets and bombers near the island, a global center for high-tech industry. American and European politicians have visited Taiwan in a show of support for its elected government.

The Chinese foreign ministry accused Washington of violating agreements on the status of Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949 after a civil war. The United States has no official relations with Taiwan but has extensive informal ties and multibillion-dollar annual trade.

“The United States should stop any form of official exchanges with Taiwan, refrain from negotiating agreements with Taiwan that have sovereign connotations or official nature and refrain from sending wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces,” said a ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning.

Taiwan never has been part of the People’s Republic of China, but the mainland’s ruling Communist Party says the island is obliged to unite with China, by force if necessary. Beijing has threatened to attack if Taiwan declares formal independence or delays talks on unification.

American and Taiwanese officials say the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade will increase trade by simplifying customs, investment and other rules.

It is due to be signed by employees of the unofficial entities that represent the two governments to each other at a ceremony attended by trade officials from both sides, according to the Taiwanese government.

Originally published June 1, 2023 at 5:43 AM