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Biden will take different approach to China than Trump, says Taiwan scholars

By Chen Chun-hua and Chiang Yi-ching

TAIPEI, Taiwan, (CNA) – Two Taiwanese scholars on Sunday said that United States president-elect Joe Biden is likely to take a different approach to China and Taiwan than incumbent Donald Trump, though it is too early to know the specifics.

There will “definitely be massive changes” to US-China-Taiwan relations under Biden, although the basic structures underpinning the relationship will not change, Alexander Huang a strategic studies professor at Tamkang University, told CNA.

The structures identified by Huang are the competitive relationship between the US and China, as well as the laws that govern US relations with Taiwan and China, such as the Taiwan Relations Act.

Based on Biden’s personality and former US president Barack Obama’s policies, the new administration will be less overtly hawkish toward China than the current White House team, Huang said.

Biden is also likely to voice fewer harsh criticisms of China and avoid direct conflict, but he will still compete with Beijing, Huang said.

As for how Biden will approach Taiwan, Huang said it is too soon to tell, but the issue will become clearer in four to six months when Biden has picked his top officials.

Lee Che-chuan a researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, echoed Huang’s opinion, saying that it is too soon to predict policy before Biden has made his cabinet picks.

However, there is currently a consensus between Democrats and Republicans over the need to counter China and support Taiwan, Lee said, so support for Taiwan is unlikely to change in the short term.

In terms of China, Lee said that as Biden is a traditional Democrat and served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, there are certain expectations as to how he will approach Beijing, including the likelihood he will refrain from making “non-traditional” remarks.



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