2023-1116: Biden Stresses Taiwan Strait Peace and “Status Quo” at Xi Meeting; U.S.-Taiwan Diplomatic Ties Resolution; Taiwan’s APEC Envoy Arrives in U.S.

Biden Stresses U.S. Support for Cross-Taiwan Strait Peace and “Status Quo” in Meeting with Xi

Taiwan’s government on November 16 thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for reiterating the U.S.’ commitment to maintaining the “status quo” and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait during a meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Xi and Biden met for the first time in a year on November 15 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit held in San Francisco, California.

According to a White House readout of the four-hour meeting, Biden reiterated that “the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side [of the Taiwan Strait]” and that “we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means.”

Biden emphasized that “the world has an interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and “called for restraint in the PRC’s use of military activity in and around” the Strait.

Biden also stated that the U.S.’ “one China policy has not changed and has been consistent across decades and administrations.”

Biden spoke to a press conference after the meeting. Xi, as is his habit, did not. The two did not release a joint statement.

“I welcome the positive steps we’ve taken today,” Biden told the press. “And it’s important for the world to see that we’re implementing the approach in the best traditions of American diplomacy. We’re talking to our competitors, just talking and being blunt with one another so there’s no misunderstanding.”

However, Biden’s comment that he still sees the powerful Chinese President Xi as a “dictator,” revealed that the two leaders remain far apart.

“He is a dictator in a sense that he is a guy that runs a country, a communist country, that’s based on a totally different form of government than ours,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) “expresses its appreciation and sincere thanks to President Biden for again publicly declaring resolute U.S. support for the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” 

Taiwan will continue to actively strengthen its self-defense capabilities and deepen its security partnership with the United States to jointly safeguard cross-strait peace and stability, ensure a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, and defend the rules-based international order, MOFA added.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202311160008
[2] Voice of America (VOA): https://www.voanews.com/a/biden-cites-moves-on-fentanyl-ai-and-military-communications-after-xi-meeting/7357349.html

50 U.S. Representatives Co-Sponsor Resolution to Resume Diplomatic Relations with Taiwan and End U.S. “One China Policy”

A House resolution calling on the U.S. to resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and end its outdated “One China Policy” has gained 50 co-sponsors. This milestone shows the growing support in Congress to recognize Taiwan as a free, democratic, and independent country.

In January 2023, Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-WI) introduced a resolution (H.Con.Res.10) that called on the U.S. to resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, to abandon its antiquated “One China Policy,” negotiate a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement (FTA), and support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations.

“It is long past time for U.S. policy to reflect the objective reality that Taiwan has never been under the control of the People’s Republic of China or part of its territory for even a single day,” Rep. Tiffany said in a press release on November 13.

50 Republican representatives had co-sponsored the resolution. “This important milestone shows that momentum is growing to turn the page on this failed 1970s-era [One China] policy.”

Despite the Taiwan Relations Act and “Six Assurances,” Tiffany said the U.S. still lacks formal ties with Taiwan, “inexplicably treating [Taiwan’s] democratically elected government the same way it treats brutal regimes in North Korea and Iran from a diplomatic perspective.”

He criticized that the U.S. lumped Taiwan in the same category as those rogue nations while normalizing relations with “Cuba’s dictatorship.”

[1] Rep. Tom Tiffany’s Office: https://tiffany.house.gov/media/press-releases/tiffanys-resolution-end-one-china-policy-expand-diplomatic-economic-ties
[2] Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/5039769

Taiwan’s APEC Envoy, TSMC Founder Chang, Arrives in San Francisco

On November 14, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) founder Morris Chang arrived in San Francisco, where he would represent Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit from November 16–17.

Chang did not answer questions about whether he would meet with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Before leaving Taiwan, Chang pledged to enhance Taiwan’s visibility at the APEC summit. Chang said he would engage with other APEC leaders and convey Taiwan’s willingness and ability to contribute to regional peace and prosperity in Asia Pacific and to the development of more resilient supply chains.

Chang has served as Taiwan president’s envoy to APEC seven times. He first attended the annual APEC summit on behalf of then-President Chen Shui-bian in 2006, and has attended the meeting on President Tsai’s behalf six times.

Taiwan’s presidents have been unable to attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting due to China’s objections, even though Taiwan is a full APEC member.

Meanwhile, 22 U.S. Republican senators on November 14 issued a joint statement urging Biden not to make “more concessions” to China, including on Taiwan, when meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping during the APEC summit.

“It is paramount that Biden and his administration don’t give an inch on U.S. policy on Taiwan,” said the statement led by U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Few issues are more urgent than ensuring Taiwan has the capabilities and training it needs to deter Chinese aggression. Vital U.S. national and economic security interests, and the future of the entire Indo-Pacific region, are both at stake here,” the statement said.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202311150006
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/11/16/2003809240