TAIPEI (Reuters) — Taiwan and the United States discussed chip shortages and how to respond to China’s economic “compulsion” during the second session of an economic dialogue launched last year, Taiwan’s Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said Tuesday.
The talks came a week after a virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. After that meeting, Xi warned that supporters in the United States were “playing with fire” of Taiwanese independence.
China claims fiercely democratic Taiwan as its own and does not rule out the use of force to bring about eventual unification.
Wang spoke to reporters in Taipei after five hours of online talks, led on the US side by Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Jose Fernandez, and said they were discussing supply chain cooperation, including semiconductors.
“The semiconductor part included the current short-term supply chain bottlenecks. More importantly, the long-term future collaboration,” she added.
Chip powerhouse Taiwan has said it is doing everything it can to solve the global semiconductor shortage, and is especially keen to show the United States, the main international lender, that it is taking the problem seriously.
How to respond to China’s economic “compulsion” was also discussed, Wang said, targeting Lithuania, which was under pressure from Beijing to allow Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in the capital Vilnius.
“We all share the belief that all countries, all economies, should not be subjected to this kind of outside coercion,” she added.
China cut ties with Lithuania on Sunday over the dispute.
Taiwan hopes the dialogue can eventually lead to a free trade agreement with the United States and called last year’s inaugural meeting a step forward.
It was part of a wider US engagement with Taipei under former President Donald Trump that the Biden administration has continued, much to Beijing’s anger.
The two sides held long-delayed talks on a trade and investment framework agreement almost in July, and Taiwan said it hoped it would one day be possible to sign a free trade agreement.