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US State Department spokesman Ned Price takes questions from reporters during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AFP via Getty Images.

The State Department issued guidelines on Friday "to encourage U.S. government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship."

Why it matters: The latest guidance comes amid heightened tensions over Taiwan, whose status is one of the most sensitive political issues between Washington and Beijing.

The big picture: The White House on Friday called the "concerning increase" in Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait "potentially destabilizing," per Reuters.

  • The U.S. military recently warned that China is likely accelerating its longstanding efforts to regain control of Taiwan, per AP.
  • At least 11 Chinese air force planes entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone on Friday, according to Taiwan's defense ministry. It was latest incursion by China, which says the exercises are meant to show its determination to defend the island that it considers part of Chinese territory.
  • "Beijing on Thursday blamed the United States for tensions over Taiwan after a U.S. warship sailed close to the island, asking rhetorically whether China would sail in the Gulf of Mexico as a 'show of strength,'" Reuters noted.

What they're saying: The State Department did not outline its specific guidelines, but said the "guidance underscores Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and an important security and economic partner that is also a force for good in the international community."

  • "These new guidelines liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations, and provide clarity throughout the Executive Branch on effective implementation of our 'one China; policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
  • Of note: Earlier this year, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced he was lifting the "self-imposed restrictions" on the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.

Go deeper: Why threats to Taiwan are a nightmare for tech

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Apr 9, 2021 - Technology

Why threats to Taiwan are a nightmare for tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Threats to Taiwan, the self-governing island only slightly bigger than Maryland, are sending shivers through the global tech industry.

Why it matters: Taiwan is home to 92% of the world's leading-edge chip manufacturing operations and a vital center for producing other tech components, including laptops and PC motherboards.

Drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Kayakers at a boat launch ramp Page, Arizona, on July 3, which was made unusable by record low water levels at Lake Powell as the drought continues to worsen near. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resume previously suspended communication channels between the two countries.

Why it matters: The resumption of the hotline on Tuesday comes despite stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on the denuclearization of North Korea, which broke down after a second summit between then-President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.

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