US state of Virginia signs trade pact with Taiwan as China tension runs high

Beijing, Apr 25 (EFE).- Taiwan Tuesday signed a trade pact with the US state of Virginia, a day after the visiting Governor Glenn Youngkin approved setting up a trade office in the self-governed island.

Wrapping up his two-day Taiwan visit, Youngkin said the Virginia trade office would usher in a “great future” and boost ties between the two sides.

The Virginia governor signed an executive order on Monday authorizing the establishment of the trade office of his state.

He signed the memorandum of understanding on economic and trade cooperation with Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Chen Chern-chi in a ceremony at the foreign ministry office in Taipei.

“I have very high aspirations that Virginia and Taiwan will have a great future both economically and in partnership going forward,” he told reporters after inking the trade agreement.

He said he wanted to strengthen cooperation with “trust partners” on his three-nation Asia sojourn that takes him to South Korea and Japan.

The governor said the trip aimed to deepen ties in supply chains related to semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries and storage, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and automotive supplies.

“These are critical supply chains for our collective future. And ones that I believe we must continue to forge with trusted partners. That is why I am here.”

He said the Taiwanese trade office in Virginia would represent “the enduring commitment to promote collaboration and deepen ties with Taiwan.”

Youngkin said exports from Virginia to Taiwan increased by 27 percent compared to two years ago. Virginia imports more than a billion dollars in goods from the island.

On Monday, Youngkin met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

“Virginia and Taiwan share a lot in common, beginning with the ingenuity, skill, and spirit of our people,” he tweeted.

“Together we will continue to build a deep and lasting partnership.”

The US politician’s visit comes amid heightened tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan after Tsai’s recent visit to the US.

Tsai met with US House speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles, triggering outrage from China, which claims sovereignty over the island.

Taiwan is one of the key sources of tension between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taipei’s key arms supplier and could be its greatest military ally in the event of a war with China.

China considers the self-ruled island part of its territory and says it reserves the right to use force to reunify Taiwan, even as a peaceful merger would be its first choice.

The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.

In 1979, Washington broke diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei. EFE


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