(Bloomberg) -- US trade chief Katherine Tai met Taiwanese Minister Without Portfolio John Deng to discuss opportunities to deepen the nations’ economic relationship in the same week China’s top diplomat warned Washington it’s heading down the “wrong road” with its support for the island. 

Tai and Deng “discussed opportunities to deepen the economic relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for their workers and businesses,” the Office of the US Trade Representative said in an emailed statement Friday. They met in Bangkok at the 2022 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting.

They “directed their teams to explore concrete ways to deepen the US-Taiwan trade and investment relationship and to meet again in the coming weeks to discuss the path forward.” 

The meeting comes as President Joe Biden begins a five-day trip to Asia where he’s seeking to increase engagement with regional allies to meet the economic and security challenges posed by China.

The US has stepped up its backing for Taiwan since the war in Ukraine started in February, with a group of senior senators including Republican Lindsey Graham visiting last month. China responded to that trip by conducting air and naval training near the island.  

In a phone call with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan this week, Yang Jiechi, Beijing’s top diplomat, said if the US “insists on playing the Taiwan card and goes further and further down the wrong road, it will certainly lead the situation to a dangerous point.”

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