Improving relations with Taiwan came at a time when the United States was stepping up pressure on China and seeking to build an anti-Beijing alliance in the region, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo taking the issue hard.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian said on Friday that Beijing “strongly opposes all forms of official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan … in order not to undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and Sino-US cooperation in important areas.” cooperation “.
“Our economic partnership with Taiwan – based on a shared commitment to free markets, the rule of law and transparency – will only strengthen,” Cale Brown, a U.S. State Department spokesman, told Twitter.
During a meeting with officials, the U.S. Navy sailed a warship across the Taiwan Strait, the first such transit since the election, which the Navy says “demonstrates U.S. commitment to a free and open Indian-Pacific region.”
While U.S. ships regularly cross the strait, China sees the strategic waterway separating it from Taiwan as a priority area and often shields foreign ships when they cross.
It shapes Biden’s policy
During the democratic pre-election in February, Biden referred to Chinese President Xin Qing as a “gangster” and said Beijing had to “play by the rules.” The June Biden campaign ad accused Trump of “playing” China.
The new emphasis on China is evident in the Democratic Party Platform Document, issued in August 2020. During the most recent presidential campaign in 2016, the document made only seven references to China. This year’s version had over 22.
“Democrats will be clear, strong and consistent in pushing back where we have deep economic, security and human rights concerns about the actions of the Chinese government,” the 2020 platform said.
Biden has also historically supported Taiwan, both as a senator and since leaving office. In January, he congratulated Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Twitter for winning re-election.
This did not stop some Chinese hawks, as well as Chinese dissidents and supporters of Hong Kong and Taiwan independence, fearing that the Biden administration might take a softer line with Beijing. Recent moves by Pompeo and others may be aimed at forcing the hands of the incoming administration, making it difficult to reverse certain policies in their office.
In July, Pompeo accused Beijing of violating human rights in Tibet, pointing to increased restrictions on religion, language and culture in the region, which China has controlled since 1950. Under Washington Trump, he urged “substantive autonomy” for Tibet, even when Beijing condemned such statements as encouraging “fission.”
In a statement to the CTA, the logic in denying its officials access to the White House and the U.S. State Department was “that the U.S. government does not recognize the Tibetan government in exile.”
“Today’s visit is a recognition of both the democratic system of the CTA and its political leader,” the statement added. “(This) unprecedented meeting may sound optimistic about the CTA’s involvement with U.S. officials and will be more formal in the coming years.”
CNN reported with Ben Westcott and Isaac Yee.