Biden Affirms: United States Does Not Back Taiwan Independence

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden made it clear that the United States does not endorse the independence of Taiwan, following the Taiwanese voters’ rejection of China’s influence and the re-election of the ruling party for a third term. Earlier that day, Lai Ching-te, the presidential candidate of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), assumed office, firmly resisting Chinese pressure and committing to both confront Beijing and pursue diplomatic talks. In response to the election results, Biden stated, “We do not support independence.”

Shortly before the polls opened, Washington issued a stern warning, declaring it would deem it “unacceptable” for any country to interfere in the election.

Taiwan, an island neighboring China, which the latter claims as its own, has achieved democratic success since its inaugural direct presidential election in 1996. This marked the culmination of decades of tireless efforts to overcome authoritarian rule and martial law.

Taiwan & the United States of America

Despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties, the United States holds a crucial role as Taiwan’s primary international supporter and arms provider.

The Biden administration has been concerned that the election, transition, and the establishment of a new administration could heighten tensions with Beijing. In an effort to improve relations with China, President Biden has worked towards dialogue on security matters, as evidenced by a summit with President Xi Jinping in California in November.

Anticipating potential pressure from China after the election, including military maneuvers near Taiwan this spring, the Taiwanese government remains vigilant. China has consistently refused to rule out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

In a display of solidarity with Taiwan, President Biden is planning to send an unofficial delegation to the self-governed island, as revealed by a senior administration official. The delegation is expected to include former high-ranking American officials, although specific names are yet to be confirmed. Similar delegations have been dispatched to Taiwan in the past.

Tensions escalated in 2016 when then-President-elect Donald Trump had a phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. This marked the first such exchange between US and Taiwanese leaders since President Jimmy Carter shifted diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, causing displeasure in China.

To express solidarity with the Taiwanese government, President Biden intends to send an informal delegation to the self-governed island.

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