The Biden administration will unveil details for trade talks with Taiwan soon, White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said, a move likely to inflame tensions with China already high following US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island and military drills by Beijing.
“We’re developing an ambitious roadmap for trade negotiations which we intend to announce in the coming days,” Campbell told reporters Friday.
The Office of the US Trade Representative in June announced the launch of a new economic initiative with Taipei and said then it would develop such a plan. The goal of the trade talks is “economically meaningful outcomes” in areas like regulatory practices, agriculture and digital trade, according to USTR.
Campbell’s briefing came days after China concluded a series of military drills off the coast of Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s visit, which Beijing considered a major provocation.
Nonetheless, US and Chinese leaders still plan to meet face-to-face later this year. During a recent phone call, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping asked their teams to prepare for a meeting, though Campbell said the two sides haven’t settled on a time or location.
Campbell said China has mounted “an intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan” that the US expects will continue in the coming weeks and months. “The goal of this campaign is clear -- to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience,” he said.
The US response won’t be “reflexive or knee-jerk,” but the administration won’t stop freedom-of-navigation exercises, including through the Taiwan Strait, in the next few weeks, Campbell said.
Campbell also said the White House is urging Beijing to reopen channels of communication that it closed to cooperation last week, including on climate.
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