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U.S.-China News Brief
June 3, 2022

State Department Taiwan Fact Sheet

The U.S. State Department revised its online fact sheet about Taiwan, after having just updated it last month. Last month’s update received backlash from China for removing explicit language stating the U.S. does not support Taiwan independence. This statement is now present in the most recent version.

According to a U.S. spokesperson, the updates to the website were made following Secretary Blinken’s China policy speech. White House officials have stated that these website updates do not suggest any changes to the ongoing official U.S. policy on Taiwan.

U.S. Officials on Taiwan

After a virtual meeting on June 1, the U.S. and Taiwan announced a “U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.” The announcement outlined joint priorities and plans to strengthen economic cooperation and trade ties. [Read Full Announcement]

On May 31, Senator Tammy Duckworth visited Taipei and met with Tsai Ing-wen. Senator Duckworth said she wanted to emphasize not just military but also economic ties with Taiwan.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly told Nikkei Asia, “The United States will make available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability commensurate with the Chinese threat.”

The interview comes ahead of Austin’s Asia trip, which he embarks on next week. During the trip, he is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart, General Wei Fenghe, in person for the first time. Austin and Wei will both be speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

China has made several statements on Taiwan in response to the U.S. Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “China firmly opposes all forms of official interaction with the Taiwan region by countries having diplomatic ties with China….If the U.S. insists on playing the Taiwan card, it will only lead China-US relations to a dangerous situation.” Zhao also urged the U.S. to “stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan.”

On June 1, Chinese officials said it had recently completed a military “readiness patrol” near Taiwan. Chinese military aircraft were also reported near Taiwan on May 31.

Indo-Pacific Meetings

President Biden met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden on May 31. They discussed a wide range of topics, including the importance the White House places on the Asia Pacific region at its allies, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the ongoing pandemic, and security concerns. The two countries released a joint statement outlining “A 21st-Century Partnership for the Pacific, the Indo-Pacific, and the World.” In part of the statement, they note a shared concern over China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands, freedom of navigation of the seas, and human rights. [Full Joint Statement] [White House Press Call]

This meeting took place while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi continued his South Pacific Islands tour. Wang Yi said he spoke with leaders from 17 Pacific Island Countries and reached 52 bilateral agreements. China’s proposed regional trade and security agreement was not signed.

Additional News

In an interview with Reuters, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi discussed its ongoing review of trade tariffs. She said, “We’re looking at everything and what we’re focused on is making sure that we have again, a long term realignment of the relationship with China, focusing on some of the concerns … such as non-market practices and economic coercion.”

Some high-profile U.S. companies have recently decided to leave China, with several citing Covid restrictions and supply chain issues. Apple is moving some of its manufacturing from China to Vietnam, Airbnb is leaving China, and Amazon is closing its Kindle store.

On June 1, Secretary Blinken spoke at Foreign Affairs Magazine. He discussed U.S. foreign policy and reiterated statements made during his China policy speech last week. [Full Remarks]

U.S.-China tensions and breakdowns in communication have led multiple foreign policy experts to worry about an increased risk of unintentional or accidental conflict. [Read article]

Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang delivered a speech on U.S.-China relations in Texas on June 3. He discussed Secretary Blinken’s speech, the U.S. and Chinese roles in the international community, and what he thinks the U.S.-China relationship should look like moving forward. [Read remarks]

As part of a “five-year plan” discussed on June 1, China will work toward a goal of having renewable energy makes up at least 1/3 of its power sources by 2025.

On May 31, K-pop stars BTS visited the White House to discuss anti-Asian hate in the U.S. and efforts to combat discrimination.