Written by Gerrit van der Wees. We are almost two months into the Biden Administration, and—contrary to what was argued in a recent article by Prof. John F. Copper—the new US administration has already shown on several key moments that it is strongly supportive of Taiwan. It is keen to help maintain Taiwan’s freedom and democracy and promote its place in the international community—a positive beginning. But where do we go from here?
Written by John F. Copper. Shortly before Donald Trump left office, a top government leader in Taiwan proclaimed that he was the best U.S. president for Taiwan ever. Taiwan’s residents felt the same. President Trump ranked extraordinarily high in local public approval ratings. He was considered pro-Taiwan. Most believed he liked Taiwan and would protect it from China.
Written by Yu-Ching Kuo and Robyn Klingler-Vidra. Early into the global pandemic — and amidst ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions — the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook in April 2020 forecast that Taiwan’s GDP would shrink by 4% in 2020. However, by October 2020, Taiwan’s exports unexpectedly grew by 3.4% and GDP increased by 2%. The outperformance was partly due to Taiwan’s capacity to fight COVID-19, which contributed to the export growth rate of semiconductors and electronics and information technology industries, which was as high as 20%. #Taiwan #economy #industry #covid #Trump @RobynVidra
Written by Ian Inkster. As Joseph Cummings has summarised recently for Redaction Politics, ‘experts believe that Mr Biden’s policy will fall short of provocation of mainland China and Mr Trump’s open empowerment of Taiwanese militarisation,’ and there is little reason yet to discount that view. The fact that the US has approved recent arms purchase deals with Taiwan may mean no real change in the long history of less-than-best military techniques being sold off to Taiwan as part of the old cold-war alliance.
Written by Jacques deLisle. As the Biden administration takes office, expectations—and, in many quarters, hopes—are high that much will change in American foreign policy. U.S. policy on Taiwan-related issues, however, is not likely to shift fundamentally. That is an outcome that should be – and generally will be -welcome in Taiwan. The relationship’s foundations may be strengthened, and apparent post-Trump setbacks are likely illusory. For Taiwan, reasons for concern mostly lie elsewhere, in the fraught U.S.-China relationship, the mounting challenges posed by Beijing, and questions about how the U.S. will respond.
Written by Douglas H. Paal. Four years ago, on December 2, 2016, shortly after Donald Trump had become president-elect, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen placed a phone call to Trump to congratulate him on his recent victory. Reportedly, someone trusted by Taipei with access to Trump had told Ms Tsai that her call would be received and not rejected. It was the first such opportunity for contact at that level since the United States broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China in 1979, and so politically irresistible for Taiwan’s leader.
Written by Gerrit van der Wees. The victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the US Presidential elections will mean a sea change for how the United States deals with the rest of the world, and how the world perceives the United States. However, interestingly, for Taiwan, it is expected to bring continuity. Biden himself has a long history of support for Taiwan. He was already a member of the United States Senate in 1979 when the Taiwan Relations Act was approved. When he became chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2001, the first country he visited as chairman was Taiwan. Moreover…
Written by Christine Penninga-Lin. After a heated election campaign and long vote counting, Joe Biden is going to swear in as the 46th President of the United States. The interest for the 2020 US election is shared among the Taiwanese, and many found themselves preferring Trump over Biden for his administration’s Taiwan policy in the past four-year. An almost unimaginable development had these people been asked in 2016. After four years of Trump’s presidency, the US-Taiwan relation already looks significantly different than that before 2016. And so are the Sino-American relations.
Written by Alexander C. Tan. Even before the official start of the Trump presidency in January 2017, Taiwan has received attention from the then US President-elect Trump as he received a congratulatory telephone call from President Tsai Ing-Wen. That phone call was heard around the world as it broke ranks with the usual quiet approaches of the past. The next four years showed the Trump administration ‘talking up’ and actively engaging with Taiwan while ‘talking down’ and confrontational to China, e.g., the trade war, South China Seas, etc. Taiwan finally felt that a US president is willing to take their side. Indeed, Taipei Times on October 19 reported that a YouGov survey showing Taiwan is alone in Asia-Pacific where the majority of the respondents are favourable to Republican Donald Trump than to Democrat Joe Biden.
Written by Bas van Beurden. Can the United States and China escape Thucydides Trap? While international relations experts grapple with the question whether the two powers are destined for war, a storm seems to be gathering in the Asia-Pacific, and it seems increasingly clear where lightning might strike. Considering recent developments, the Taiwan Straits seems to be the most likely battleground for Sino-American conflict. The prospect of conflict appears to be looming as Beijing closes in on Hong Kong and ratchets up its rhetoric on a forceful reunification with Taiwan.
Written by Michael Mazza. The new Biden administration will have its hands full from day one. Even as it focuses its energy on finally getting a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration will have to recalibrate its China policy, making numerous decisions about which aspects of the Trump administration’s approach to keep and which to jettison. Beyond China, it will have to meaningfully strengthen alliances and security partnerships worldwide, make a decision about how best to rein in Iran’s nuclear program going forward, and work quickly to preserve (or not) the New START arms control agreement with Russia. Taiwan policy, on the other hand, should not require significant deliberation in the early going.
Written by Jade Guan and Wen-Ti Sung. The Taiwan Strait is a key hotspot in the intensifying US-China rivalry, where the two superpowers’ spheres of influence overlap. Beijing claims the area as a uncompromisable “core interest” of sovereignty and territorial integrity, while the US seeks to maintain its close economic, political and security relationship with Taiwan. Whether it likes it or not, Australia is a major stakeholder in any future conflict arising around Taiwan. As an ANZUS treaty ally, Australia is at risk of being dragged into events.