Taiwan on Thursday signed a trade deal with Singapore, part of the island's efforts to reduce reliance on the Chinese market.
It is the first trade pact Taiwan has signed with a member of the Association of Southeast Nations, and Taiwanese officials hope it will pave the way for a diversification of its foreign trade ties.
About 40% of Taiwan's total trade is with mainland China. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing continues to claim the island as part of its territory, to be brought into the fold by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary. Many Taiwanese fear that increasing dependence on the mainland market gives China leverage that could ultimately be used to undermine Taiwan's de facto independence.
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