Written by: Joey Lin

Layout by: Zoe Liu

Jan. 11th, 2021

On social media, in class, and even on the monitors in the Scale-Up classroom, it was fascinating to see PAS students and teachers alike checking the status of the US election at whatever time they had during election week.

And although Joe Biden’s policies and beliefs clearly aligned with the interests of students going abroad and the political stance of a typical PAS student, much debate took place at school. The presence of actual debate between supporters of different candidates, instead of an expected landslide of support for Biden, indicates that PAS students are concerned on how the person in the White House would affect the future of Taiwan.

Many news sources in Taiwan see the eventual inauguration of Biden as the start of a crisis for Taiwan, stating that Biden would abandon Trump’s strong stance towards China, thus allowing China to exert more influence on Taiwan.

Still, Biden has shown resentment towards free trade with China as he sees it as hurting American workers. Past experience in the trade war has left a lasting impression on both parties and the American people on how much of a threat Chinese manufacturing and intellectual property violations can be to the US job market. Therefore, he is unlikely to back down from Trump’s sweeping use of tariffs, and his far-reaching climate policy is also likely to have an impact on Chinese’s heavy-industry exports like steel and aluminum, as a carbon

tax would be applied. And even if he were to revive trade talks, the domestic coronavirus outbreak would keep him occupied for a long time. From an economic perspective, Biden is likely to continue perpetrating the Trumpian anti-China position.

Something that the Biden administration would do for a change is to give in to China more and neglect Taiwan more in terms of international recognition. In order to maintain a more multilateral relationship with China, past Democratic presidents like Jimmy Carter (switched recognition from Republic of China to People’s Republic of China), Bill Clinton (acted neutral towards China’s entrance into the WTO), and Obama (questioned President Tsai Ing-Wen whether she will provoke cross-strait relations), and Biden is likely to follow to continue the party’s agenda.

Although Biden’s policies do not exactly replicate Trump’s strong support towards Taiwanese self-identity, from a logistical perspective, Taiwan is too important for the US to give up, as a democratic nation and sphere of influence in the region and as a major US ally right at the underbelly of the Mainland. The farthest the US would go and have gone is to recognize China over Taiwan, so as to appease China and maintain peace and US presence in the Asia-Pacific. By examining Biden’s policies and the practicalities of the Taiwan-China-US triangle, the election of Biden does not mean that Taiwan will lose a faithful ally. Rest assured, PAS students and Taiwanese alike do not have to fret.