Taiwan and the U.S.-China Relationship with Dr. Robert Wang


November 21, 2022

The recent Bali summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored two things about the U.S.-China relationship as we near the end of the year 2022: first, that many of the differences between the United States and China are, in the end, irreconcilable; and second, that notwithstanding that, both sides have a stated desire to restore some level of functionality and constructiveness to this deeply strained, but vitally consequential, bilateral relationship. Prominent on the agenda for this first in-person meeting between the two presidents was the issue of Taiwan, which has been a source of significantly increased tensions in the relationship between the United States and China in recent years and months. What is the current state of play with respect to Taiwan? Does the summit, or the recently concluded political transitions in the two countries, change the trajectory in any discernible or meaningful way? Where does U.S. policy toward Taiwan stand at this point? What is the risk of conflagration across the Taiwan Strait?

Joining host David Firestein to discuss these important topics is guest Dr. Robert Wang, senior associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Dr. Wang was a career foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State from 1984-2016. He last served as the U.S. senior official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, from 2013-2015 and as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing from 2011-2013. Dr. Wang also served as deputy director of the American Institute in Taiwan from 2006-2009 and in a variety of diplomatic and policy roles abroad and in Washington in the course of his distinguished career.

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*Note two corrections: “I see Taiwan’s statement as” is “I see Biden’s statement as” at 17:56 mark. “incursion into Taiwan territory…”  is “incursion into Taiwan’s air defense zone…” at 36:20 mark.

Dr. Wang and his wife with President George H. W. Bush in Shanghai.