Bingkai Karya – Taiwan’s voters rebuffed China and gave the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a third presidential term on Saturday, January 13th. The victory for William Lai Ching-te, who strongly rejected Chinese pressure, was met with mixed reactions from the United States.
President Joe Biden, in an apparent effort to reassure Beijing, reiterated the United States’ long-standing “One China” policy, stating that the US does not support Taiwan’s independence. This stance aligns with the 1979 diplomatic switch that saw the US recognize Beijing over Taipei.
However, Biden also emphasized the US commitment to maintaining cross-strait peace and stability, and to the peaceful resolution of differences without coercion or pressure. He congratulated Lai on his victory and expressed the US’s desire to work with him and other Taiwanese leaders to advance their unofficial relationship.
The Biden administration has expressed concerns that the election and transition period could lead to increased tensions with China. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, and it views Lai’s victory with suspicion.
Taiwanese officials anticipate China will attempt to pressure the new administration, possibly through military maneuvers near the island. The US has sent a delegation, led by former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, to Taipei for post-election meetings with Taiwanese politicians.
The US finds itself in a delicate position. It wants to maintain its relationship with China, the world’s second-largest economy, while also supporting Taiwan’s right to self-determination. Biden’s comments and the US delegation’s visit are attempts to navigate this complex geopolitical situation.
It remains to be seen how China will react to Lai’s victory and the US response. The coming months will be crucial in determining the future of cross-strait relations and the delicate balance of power in the region.