U.S. to ensure that competition with China doesn't affect Taiwan: Hsiao

11/14/2021 12:02 PM
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Taiwan's representative to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim. CNA photo Nov. 13, 2021

Washington, Nov. 13 (CNA) The United States will seek to ensure that its competition with China does not escalate into conflict and affect stability in Taiwan in an upcoming virtual meeting between the two countries' presidents, according to Taiwan's representative to the U.S.

U.S. President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping (習近平) of the People's Republic of China are scheduled to meet virtually on Monday evening (ET), the first meeting since Biden took office in January.

The White House said that the two leaders will discuss ways to "responsibly manage the competition" between the two countries and how to work together where their interests align, while the Wall Street Journal reported that topics could cover climate change, trade, Taiwan, and cybersecurity.

When asked how the topic of Taiwan could be discussed during the meeting, Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said Saturday that Taiwan has trust in the U.S. and there is close communication between the two sides.

Taiwan's understanding is that the meeting is about managing competition, Hsiao said, and as there are currently multiple layers of competition between the U.S. and China, the U.S. will seek to ensure that it does not escalate into conflict and affect peace and stability in Taiwan.

The safety and security of Taiwan is an important and critical issue to the U.S. and to other stakeholders in the region, Hsiao said.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement on Saturday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken "emphasized longstanding U.S. interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" in a call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) a day earlier.

Blinken "expressed concern regarding the PRC's continued military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan" and he "urged Beijing to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve cross-Strait issues peacefully and in a manner consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan," the statement said.

Also on Saturday, Hsiao said that whether Taiwan's trade policy was consistent with international standards and based on scientific evidence was an issue that "the U.S. has been concerned about for many years."

Hsiao made the comment in response to questions over whether an upcoming referendum aimed at overturning the decision by Taiwan's government to allow pork imports that contain residue of the controversial livestock drug ractopamine would affect Taiwan-U.S. relations if it is passed.

Taiwan announced in August 2020 that it would allow in pork containing ractopamine starting in January, in an apparent effort to clear the way for a trade deal between Taipei and Washington.

Ractopamine is currently banned for use in pigs in Taiwan as well as in the European Union and China because of concerns over its safety to both animals and humans, but the U.S. has long criticized Taiwan's zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine in pork as an impediment to trade.

(By Stacy Hsu and Chiang Yi-ching)

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