China opposes British minister’s planned visit to Taiwan

China’s foreign ministry said Britain should stop all official trade with Taiwan, after a British minister planned to visit the self-governing island, which is claimed by China, for trade talks.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a regular press conference that the Taiwan authorities should stop colluding with foreign forces.

Greg Hands, British Secretary of State for Trade Policy, arrived in Taiwan on November 7 for a two-day visit. He will meet with Leader Tsai Ing-wen and co-chair with Vice-Minister of Economy Chen Chern-qiu for the 25th Annual Bilateral Economic and Trade Dialogue.

Greg Hands’ visit is the UK’s first government-wide visit to Taiwan since the pandemic. The Minister is keen to give new impetus to Taiwanese-British exchanges in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable trade.

He also wants to remove trade barriers in the fintech, food and pharmaceutical sectors, “To help more British companies export and invest in Taiwan”According to the British Ministry.

During the bilateral economic and trade dialogue, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the British Innovation Agency and the Taiwan Ministry of Economy. London has allocated a budget of £5 million (€5.6 million) through 2025 to support technologically innovative projects between the UK and Taiwan.

According to British official statistics, trade between Taiwan and the United Kingdom hit a record high last year, exceeding 8.3 billion pounds, or nearly 9.5 billion euros.

During the pandemic, bilateral trade has increased by 14% in the past two years, and British exports to Taiwan have increased by 12%.

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For London, Taiwan is considered a vital economic partner by London, whose foreign policy has increasingly shifted to the Indo-Pacific region since Brexit.

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