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Friday, October 22, 2021

Anxious Taiwan launches US attraction offensive to win Biden’s backing

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Taiwan’s president will kick off a marketing campaign to woo the incoming Biden administration on Thursday as Taipei fights to protect the strongest assist it has loved from its unofficial protector in additional than 40 years.

In remarks to be delivered just about to 3 US think-tanks over the approaching week, Tsai Ing-wen will name for Washington to proceed working with Taipei in weaning world provide chains away from China and countering Beijing’s threats to regional safety, in accordance with two of her aides.

Ms Tsai’s attraction is geared toward bolstering public assist within the US as president-elect Joe Biden’s staff prepares to reassess fractious relations with China.

“We’re about to get a China coverage debate within the US. And we’d like Taiwan to make its voice heard on this debate,” mentioned Lo Chih-cheng, a lawmaker from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive occasion and head of the legislature’s US caucus.

The Taiwanese public is nervous that Washington’s robust assist for Taipei is at stake. In line with home and worldwide polls, Taiwan would have most well-liked Donald Trump to have gained a second time period — the one nation in Asia to document such a choice.

The backdrop for these considerations is obvious. The Obama administration, by which essential members of Mr Biden’s foreign policy and nationwide safety staff helped form Washington’s stance in direction of China, tried to stop ties with Taiwan from interfering with relations with Beijing.

This meant that arms sales to Taipei had been usually delayed and mutual visits had been scarce.

Antony Blinken, a former deputy nationwide safety adviser underneath Barack Obama who will function Mr Biden’s secretary of state, described Taiwan in a July interview with Bloomberg as “successful story by way of how the US and China have dealt with it”. These feedback stoked fears in Taipei {that a} Biden administration would once more subordinate Taiwan to Washington’s relationship with Beijing.

Taiwanese policymakers argue that attitudes in direction of China have soured within the intervening years amongst Republicans and Democrats, in addition to the American public, making the brand new administration unlikely to change again to an engagement technique with Beijing.

Each Mr Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Mr Biden’s decide for nationwide safety adviser and former deputy chief of workers to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, have additionally made hawkish remarks relating to China over the previous yr.

Though Biden officers have backed the Trump administration’s definition of China as a strategic competitor, they’ve additionally spoken concerning the need for co-operation with Beijing in sure areas and to keep away from confrontation from spinning uncontrolled.

Taipei is cautious that Beijing will exploit that mindset to press for a discount in US assist for Taiwan.

Taipei is lobbying US lawmakers to be sure that Taiwanese arms procurement requests proceed to obtain swift critiques and approvals © Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty

An honour guard for President Tsai Ing-wen exterior a submarine constructing shipyard. China has threatened to invade Taiwan if it resists unification indefinitely © Ritchie B Tongo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Ms Tsai will deal with the American Legislative Trade Council, a state legislators’ organisation, on Thursday, the Nationwide Democratic Institute, loosely affiliated with the Democratic occasion, on Tuesday and the Hudson Institute, a conservative think-tank, on Wednesday.

“She is going to remind her viewers that we share the values of freedom and democracy. She may even state that as we proceed to face the problem of the pandemic, co-operation is extra essential than ever,” mentioned one of many aides.

Individuals briefed on her speech mentioned the Taiwanese president would point out the position performed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, in supply chain security with its plan for a brand new chip manufacturing facility within the US.

She can also be anticipated to spotlight China’s navy threats and financial coercion of its neighbours, together with Taiwan.

China claims democratic Taiwan as a part of its territory and threatens to invade if Taipei resists unification indefinitely.

Beneath Mr Trump, US ties with Taiwan reached their strongest level since Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. Senior US officers publicly praising Taiwan as a companion in shared values and a power for good whereas cabin et ministers visited the nation.

Beijing reacted with menacing language, frequent war games around Taiwan and navy incursions into its air defence buffer zone.

Robert Sutter, a world relations professor at George Washington College, mentioned that whereas it could be tough for Mr Biden to ease tensions with China, that didn’t imply a Biden administration was more likely to advance relations with Taiwan.

“You don’t wish to upset, or amplify any greater than it’s already been upset,” he mentioned of US-China relations, indicating {that a} Biden administration may nicely slide again to Mr Obama’s “mainstream” strategy to Taiwan coverage.

To keep away from that, Taiwan needs the controversy to be as public as attainable. Taipei is lobbying US lawmakers to ensure they ask Biden officers throughout affirmation hearings to endorse a continuation of co-operation processes with Taiwan.

These embody a brand new bilateral financial dialogue centred on provide chain restructuring, an initiative for joint infrastructure financing in third nations to rival China’s Belt and Highway Initiative and the swift assessment and approval of Taiwanese arms procurement requests.

“Beneath Mr Trump, Taiwan has turn into an asset, a bit of leverage for the US,” mentioned Mr Lo. “A very powerful factor is that we don’t slip again to the curse of Taiwan being handled as a legal responsibility in US-China relations.”

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