The US and Taiwan on Wednesday held talks on the cooperation between their coast guards and agreed to have regular discussions on the topic as the Biden administration continues to boost ties with Taipei to counter China.
The talks were the result of a memorandum of understanding signed in March by the US and Taiwan’s de facto embassies, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO). The agreement established a coast guard working group.
“Both sides discussed ways to improve joint maritime responses to search and rescue, disaster relief, and environmental missions, as well as opportunities to improve communication and continue personnel educational exchanges,” The AIT said in a statement on the meeting.
Taiwanese media reported that future cooperation could include joint drills. The reports also said that Taiwan deployed one of its largest coast guard vessels on Monday to take part in US-led exercises, but the Taiwanese Coast Guard denied this, saying that the ship was deployed on a routine mission that did not involve the US.
The talks come as tensions between the US and China are soaring, due in part to Washington’s increased cooperation with Taipei. The Biden administration has taken steps to boost diplomatic ties with Taiwan, including issuing new guidelines to “encourage” more contacts between US and Taiwanese officials. The administration recently approved its first arms sale to Taiwan and has kept up monthly warship transits through the Taiwan Strait, sailing seven US Navy destroyers through the sensitive waterway this year.