UK Minister Holds Taiwan Trade Talks in Defiance of China

UK Trade Minister Greg Hands is holding talks with Taiwanese officials to “future-proof” Britain’s economy in the coming decades, as Rishi Sunak’s administration looks to take a harder stance on China.
The in-person trip to Taipei, aimed at boosting economic ties between the countries, comes as the UK takes an increasingly protectionist approach to Chinese investment. Prime Minister Sunak has described China as the “biggest long-term threat to Britain,” and during his summer leadership race against Liz Truss said China is “attempting to bully their neighbors, including Taiwan.”
The talks will focus on industries like financial technology, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals, according to a statement Monday. The UK noted that Taiwan is a leading manufacturer of semiconductors — a key component in electric devices — and crucial because Britain is close to making a decision on a probe into a Chinese-led takeover of Newport Wafer Fab, which owns the country’s largest semiconductor plant.
“Boosting trade with this vital partner is part of the UK’s post-Brexit tilt towards the Indo-Pacific and closer collaboration will help us future-proof our economy in the decades to come,” Hands said in the statement.
China rejects nations it has ties with having official interactions with Taiwan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. He called on the UK “to earnestly respect China’s sovereignty” and “stop sending wrong signals to Taiwan independence separatist forces.”
On Sunday, China sent 46 warplanes and four navy vessels toward Taiwan, the Defense Ministry in Taipei said in a tweet.
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