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International relations

Taiwan tensions rise as US and China seek edge on trade

Island becomes a valuable negotiation card for Washington's talks with Beijing

Taiwan put 29 Apache helicopters purchased from the U.S. into operation this month, viewing the "tank killers" as a defense against a potential attack by mainland China.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is forging closer military and commercial ties with Taiwan to deter mainland China's growing pressure on the island, a strategy that could also give Washington leverage in trade negotiations with Beijing. 

"We note the stripping of diplomatic allies; we note the further isolation from international organizations; we see military pressure," Randall Schriver, assistant U.S. secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said of China's actions at a symposium here last week. Schriver noted that China's bomber flights around the island were designed to send a message to Taiwan and to the region.

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