FirstFT: Taiwan president warns ‘democracy is under threat’ | Commoney Wise

Good morning. Today we start in California, where House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, becoming the most high-profile US official to meet a Taiwanese president on American soil.

Following the meeting, Tsai urged continued support for her country and warned that “democracy is under threat”.

“We are stronger when we are together,” Tsai said following the meeting, which included a bipartisan group of 18 lawmakers.

The meeting on Wednesday marked a compromise between McCarthy’s and Tsai’s desires for a more high-profile US-Taiwan engagement and efforts to avoid a violent reaction from Beijing. China claims Taiwan is part of its territory and has threatened to annex if Taipei refuses to submit under its control indefinitely.

Joe Biden’s administration repeatedly warned China not to use the meeting as a pretext for greater aggression, but hours before the meeting China’s People’s Liberation Army sent its newest aircraft carrier through the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan and the Philippines, on its first navigation training in the western Pacific, Taiwan’s defence ministry said.

In the latest sign of how deepening geopolitical divisions are worrying corporate leaders, insurance veteran Evan Greenberg has called on the US to “tone down rhetoric and symbolism around Taiwan” and focus on preserving peace and stability in the region.

Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:

  • India monetary policy: The Reserve Bank of India will announce its repurchase rate decision today.

  • Xi meets EU leaders: Emmanuel Macron said he would seek to convince Xi Jinping to take “a shared responsibility for peace” in Ukraine, when he and Ursula von der Leyen meet the Chinese president today.

As always, thank you for reading FirstFT. Let us know if you have any feedback at

Five more top stories

1. Kyiv is willing to discuss the future of Crimea with Moscow if its forces reach the border of the peninsula, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the FT. The comments by the deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office, are the most explicit statement of Ukraine’s interest in negotiations since it cut off peace talks with the Kremlin last April.

  • More Russia news: The US state department is preparing to declare American journalist Evan Gershkovich wrongfully detained, a designation that will escalate Washington’s efforts to secure his release from Russia.

2. A hacking attack at Japan’s largest IT company is spilling across the country’s corporate sector, with cyber security experts warning that it could trigger a surge in attempts by organised criminal gangs to extort hefty ransoms from companies and their customers.

3. The Swiss government has cut bonuses for about 1,000 senior bankers at Credit Suisse, with the executive team losing their outstanding variable pay entirely, after the lender’s rescue by its rival UBS last month. The bonuses cut were worth up to a total of SFr60mn ($66.1mn).

4. Chamath Palihapitiya told investors in his company Social Capital that he has questioned “the purpose of leverage” altogether, after a collapse in share prices put pressure on a stock-backed line of credit. Ortenca Aliaj details Palihapitiya’s annual letter, which opines on the end of zero-interest rate policy.

5. Johnson & Johnson has proposed an $8.9bn settlement to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging its talcum powder caused cancer in what would be the largest product liability settlement in bankruptcy history, according to lawyers.

The Big Read

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen has delivered a consistent and blunt message: in the face of Chinese threats to annex the country, Taiwan needs to have the US at its back. But her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou has been touring China, pushing a very different agenda. The illusion that Taiwan could have it both ways is over.

We’re also reading . . . 

  • Opinion: The US risks reversing nine decades of hugely successful policy that lifted tens of millions out of poverty by waging war on trade, writes Martin Wolf.

  • Trump world: From Florida to New York and back, it’s been a surreal two days in Trump world, write FT’s Joshua Chaffin and Joe Miller.

  • 🎧 Climate crisis: Who should pay to rebuild Pakistan? In this episode of the Behind the Money podcast, we discuss how Pakistan recovery plans after record-breaking floods.

Chart of the day

After abandoning plans for its own mutual fund company in China in 2021, Vanguard doubled down on a partnership with local financial group Ant. But the US-based $8tn fund manager has struggled to convince country’s investors they need its low-cost passive funds, and now has plans to exit the venture, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Take a break from the news

Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio are known to have bid against one another for the skull of a Tarbosaurus bataar. Others with deep pockets will get their chance this month when Trinity, a 67mn-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, goes on sale at Koller Auctions. The reserve suggests that dinosaurs have entered the realm reserved for the most highly prized works of art.

Additional contributions from Gordon Smith and Tee Zhuo

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