November 24, 2020
by: Zoe Leung
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Under the Trump administration, U.S.-Taiwan ties have reached new heights on multiple fronts, but so too have cross-strait tensions as the U.S. pursues arms sales of advanced weaponry and increases joint exercises and official visits in the face of persistent intimidation from China. This culminated in a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo that “Taiwan has not been a part of China,” which sought to push China to the brink. At the same time, President Trump is likely to take additional measures against China in the remaining weeks of his presidency that could cause further anxiety in the already crisis-prone Taiwan Strait.
In this context, President-elect Biden’s policy toward Taiwan is expected to be congruent to America’s longstanding position, with greater coherence and inclusivity. His longstanding interest in Taiwan and deep understanding of the triangular U.S.-China-Taiwan relationship are likely to provide the impetus for a more effective rebalance against Beijing’s pressure.
Biden’s congressional career began only a few years after Henry Kissinger’s first trips to China in the early 1970’s. Biden is one of the few remaining witnesses to the process of normalization of U.S.-China relations and Taiwan’s unofficial relationship with Washington, under the premise of the “One China” policy. Moreover, he has held powerful positions in U.S. foreign policy in his career, including chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations three times. These experiences will soon be tremendous assets for steadying cross-strait relations while effectively bringing Taiwan into the international fold.