U.S.-Taiwan relations might regress under Biden: expert

11/23/2020 10:47 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) Relations between Taiwan and the United States might regress in the short-to-medium term due to President- elect Joe Biden's support for multilateralism and the U.S.' need of Chinese support on many issues, an overseas expert said Monday.

Syaru Shirley Lin (林夏如), a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, made the prediction at a forum in Taipei on Monday that discussed the prospects for U.S.-Taiwan relations under a new U.S. administration.

Biden's support for multilateralism in international affairs could be worrisome for Taiwan because he would need China's cooperation on many issues, she said, citing climate change as one example.

Because of that, Taiwan might be overlooked by the Biden administration, in contrast to the spotlight put on it during President Donald Trump's administration, Lin suggested.

Although the U.S. is expected to continue to maintain its relations with Taiwan, the Biden administration will likely lean toward establishing long-term beneficial relationships with the world under an approach of "less talk and less provocation," she said.

This approach might lead to a certain degree of decline in U.S.-Taiwan relations in the short-to-medium term, she said.

The Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based scholar also suggested that Biden, unlike Trump, might be a "micromanager" who could take a hands-on approach on many issues due to his familiarity with diplomatic matters, and it will be worth watching how he works with the people under him.

As for China, she said China's propaganda department is doing a very bad job, especially on the Xinjiang issue, noting that fewer foreign students want to study in China today due to fear.

In the long run, China will find out that its friends are disappearing even though it has become powerful on the economic, military and political fronts, she said.

At the same forum, Harry Harding, an American political scientist and Lin's husband, gave his advice to Beijing regarding how to respond to the worsening U.S.-China and cross-Taiwan Strait relationships.

The first thing that Beijing can do is to stop aggravating the present situation, he said, adding that one way to achieve this is to stop flying military aircraft across the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The second thing Beijing can do is to stop propagating the idea of "one country, two systems" to Taiwan because the framework has a negative reputation in Taiwan's society, he said.

Harding believed that Biden will view U.S.-China relations as highly competitive, while the American people might want the Biden administration to strengthen U.S.' ability to compete more effectively with China.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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