TAIPEI (REUTERS) – A senior Taiwanese minister called on Wednesday (March 9) for the island to be made a “full member” of the United States’ forthcoming Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, saying Taipei was a reliable partner and crucial part of the global supply chain.
Washington vowed last month to commit more diplomatic and security resources to the Indo-Pacific to push back against what its sees as China’s bid to create a regional sphere of influence and become the world’s most influential power.
The 12-page strategy overview reiterated US plans to launch an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in early 2022, an initiative the administration hopes will at least partially fill a big gap in engagement with the region since 2017 when then- President Donald Trump quit a multinational trade framework.
Speaking to an online event organised by the Brookings Institution, a US think-tank, Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator John Deng said democratically governed Taiwan was a dependable and stable partner both politically and economically.
“Taiwan is very willing to support the US Indo-Pacific Economic Framework,” he said.
“I would like to urge the US government, and I hope all the audience participating in the seminar today can help us convey this message to the US government, that Taiwan would like to be a full member of this framework.”
Supply chain cooperation between Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, and the United States was vital for both, Deng added.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has condemned the US Indo-Pacific push, saying Washington is creating “exclusive clubs”.
Any Taiwanese participation in the economic section would likely further strain Sino-US ties with Beijing angered by any shows of support from Washington for the island.