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Senior national security officials from the United States and Taiwan have met to deepen cooperation, the government in Taipei said, the first such meeting in four decades that came amid tense relations between the United States and China.

Taiwan’s national security chief David Lee met White House national security adviser John Bolton earlier this month, the island’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The official Central News Agency said the meeting was the first since the island and the United States ended formal diplomatic ties in 1979.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province, to be reclaimed by force if necessary, and the meeting is likely to anger Beijing further with Sino-U.S. relations already tense.

The diplomatic temperature has risen in recent weeks amid an escalating trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

The rare meeting will be viewed by Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration. Tensions have also risen between Taipei and Beijing, which considers the democratically ruled island part of “one China”.

The meeting took place during Lee’s May 13-21 visit to the United States, Taiwan’s brief statement said…https://reut.rs/2Ws4e8Q

By Ian Dei

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