US, Taiwan sign coast guard agreement

The United States and Taiwan have signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation between their coast guards, apparently with an eye on China.

Senior officials held a ceremony in Taipei on Friday to mark the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Washington the day before.

The two sides are now expected to establish a Coast Guard Working Group to coordinate policy. They will cooperate in search and rescue operations and respond to fishing vessels that violate regulations.

Officials stressed that this is the first official agreement between the two sides since US President Joe Biden took office. The US and Taiwan do not have diplomatic relations.

The officials did not directly mention China, which has enacted a new law allowing its coast guard to use weapons.

However, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang separately suggested the new law was a factor. He said it has shocked the region, adding those with common values need to work together to protect peace and stability.