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Biden's words to Beijing show continuity of U.S. foreign policy

ROC Central News Agency

01/24/2021 07:40 PM

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) A call made by the administration of new United States President Joe Biden asking China to stop its military coercion toward Taiwan shows continuity in U.S. foreign policy, experts said Sunday.

A statement issued by the U.S. Department of State on Saturday said that the U.S. "notes with concern" the pattern of ongoing Chinese attempts to intimidate Taiwan. The department called on Beijing to "engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's democratically elected representatives."

"Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region," the statement said.

The statement was welcomed by both Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and main opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

DPP lawmaker and the party's International Affairs Director Luo Chi-cheng (羅致政) said during a seminar on Sunday that the statement, released only days after Biden was sworn into office on Jan. 20, is very positive and friendly toward Taiwan, while adopting a hardline stance toward China.

Washington also reaffirmed its commitment to Taiwan as "rock-solid," a very precise and positive assurance toward the country, Luo told the DPP-organized seminar on the future of Taiwan-U.S. relations under Biden.

Lou, an expert in diplomacy and international policy, further said that some scholars had previously expressed concern that bilateral relations could deteriorate under Biden after seeing huge improvements during the previous Donald Trump administration.

The latest statement rebutted such allegations, he said, as the Biden administration stressed that it will continue to support "a peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan."

The commitment shows that there remains continuity in U.S. foreign policy toward Taiwan, Lou said.

The lawmaker expressed optimism that the bilateral relations between Taiwan and the U.S. will continue to flourish in the years to come.

Sharing Luo's view, Lai I-chung (賴怡忠) of the government-funded Prospect Foundation think tank said at the same seminar that Biden's attitude toward China will be more similar to that of Trump than that of former President Barack Obama.

There will be a high level of continuity in Biden's cross-strait policy, he said.

Kuo Yu-jen (郭育仁), a professor at National Sun Yat-sen University's Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies, meanwhile, said the Biden government has made clear its commitment to maintaining prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region in a "precise and strong-worded" statement.

Biden, like Trump, is believed to take a hardline stance toward China, but will do so in a more delicate manner in dealing with Washington-Taipei relations to avoid making Taiwan an obvious target for China's anger, he said.

Meanwhile, the KMT expressed welcome to the Biden administration's stance which the latter has made clear since late last year when it said it supports a cross-strait policy that meets the best interests of Taiwan's people.

The party also urged the People's Liberation Army of China to restrain itself from intruding into the air space around Taiwan, so that it will not cause anxiety among the Taiwanese people.

In a statement released on Sunday, the KMT reminded Beijing that the problems stopping cross-strait relations from progress should be resolved peacefully through political means.

The problems cannot be settled by incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), it said.

On Saturday, China sent 13 warplanes into Taiwan's ADIZ in a move seen as Beijing's flexing its military muscle to new U.S. President Joe Biden.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)

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