(Noted News) — A combination of Taiwanese and American officials have joined forces in an effort to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative which, since 2013, has been pouring billions of dollars in investments into various infrastructure projects across the entire world.
Infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Indo-Pacific will now receive funding from the U.S and Taiwanese governments, testing the waters of a previously Chinese-dominated area.
The U.S embassy in Taipei, which is officially considered illegitimate due to China recognizing Taiwan as their own asset, is planning on supporting “quality infrastructure in emerging markets,” according to Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu.
“Taiwan has its own foreign policy, its own military strategy, and its own strategic direction and interests,” Wu stated, contrary to China’s official position.
For years now, Washington has been skeptical of China’s Belt and Road initiatives, hypothesizing that it is most likely just a ruse to get the various geographies dependent on Chinese imports.
Brent Christensen, who is one of the top American officials working in Taiwan said that the agreement, dubbed as the Frame Work To Strengthen Infrastructure Finance and Market Building Cooperation, would be designed to create supply trade routes and supply chains in the Indo-Pacific. Both countries have said that they are looking to gather “like-minded” democracies to join forces against China on the project.
Foreign minister Wu has also stated during a meeting at the Legislative Yuan that Chinese naval vessels and fighter jets were spotted surrounding the Taiwanese air defense identification zone, intensifying the context of the agreement. A total of seven cases of military intrusion were recorded by Taiwanese government, according to Wu.
Though there are no concrete blueprints drawn out for cooperation between Taiwan and the rest of the world to combat China’s industrial agendas, Wu says that he has been advocating for deeper relations.
“We are not seeking full diplomatic relations with the United States at this moment… But, certainly, there’s a lot of room for us to explore how to strengthen the relations between Taiwan and the United States, and we have been advocating that Taiwan and the United States should further strengthen the economic relations, trade relations, political relations, even security relations.”
As part of the developing relationship between Taiwan and the US, HHS secretary Alex Azar met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen in August to discuss COVID-19. In September the secretary of economic growth, energy, and environment Keith Karach traveled to Taiwan to attend the funeral of former Taiwanese president Lee-Teng-hui.
Joseph Wu has said that Taiwan has been vigilant towards China, not just economically, but militarily as well.
“We see China has become more threatening and they seem to be more capable than before.”
“Taiwan might be an easy scapegoat for the Chinese government, and therefore we understand the possibility for China to think about using military force against Taiwan, and we have been staying vigilant.”