Renaming Office of Representative Will Divert Attention from Biden-Xi Hotline


Just one day after President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Financial Times reported that the Biden administration was considering allowing the Democratic Progressive Party to change the name of its representative office in the United States to the Taiwan Representative Office. Naturally, the DPP government was overjoyed with the news, but this message is problematic no matter from what angle it is viewed.

According to the White House statement, Biden had a “broad, strategic discussion” with Xi and “discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.” Strictly speaking, this points to a broad framework for the setting up of marginal conversations.

Given the focus of the Chinese Communist Party’s current negotiations with the United States, it is clear that Taiwan-related issues are of the utmost importance; given that Biden and the officials concerned have been through the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996 and the cross-strait tensions in 1999, they are naturally aware of the seriousness of Taiwan-related issues. This is the issue that will possibly become the trigger for a war between the two sides.

Hence, it is impossible that issues related to sovereignty and territorial integrity, such as that regarding Taiwan, were not addressed in this conversation. This is obvious if we recall the process of reengagement and strategic dialogue between Washington and Beijing after the Taiwan Strait Crisis in March 1996.

In the current political situation facing Biden and the Democratic Party, it is indeed in Biden’s best interest to have a conversation with Xi. According to the press release issued by the Chinese Communist Party, several important issues set forth by the Biden administration and the Democrats were addressed in the dialogue between the two nations. This benefits the Biden administration’s domestic political struggle in the United States, and indicates that that its policies have been effective.

Because the U.S. — or rather, both the U.S. and China — have such an understanding, it does not seem responsible to continue to indulge the DPP, which has already become like a wild horse galloping toward Taiwan independence, and to give it more encouragement.

It is very clear that such a self-contradictory act has not been done with any assessment of the consequences. Given the Biden administration’s current situation, if Beijing does not cooperate with the Biden administration on other important issues (such as the economy and international affairs) while the disaster of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is still fresh, it will be a disaster that the Biden administration cannot afford and will have a significant impact on next year’s midterm elections, perhaps even make Biden an early lame duck.

As such, this is obviously not being arranged by someone with a holistic view of the situation, not to mention any high-level official on the White House National Security Council. Any call at the head-of-state level, if not an emergency, must be scheduled beforehand. In the process of arranging such a call, then, how could one approve a plan that would clearly create a conflict of interest?

It is more likely that there was a group of people in Washington who did not understand the issue surrounding the Taiwan Strait and had simply gone along with the anti-China political mainstream in the capital. A similar idea was circulated among this small group, but did not develop further. After learning of Biden’s call with Xi, someone leaked the information to the media, arranging it so that the media got the news the day after the call. Of course, in Taiwan, the expected media effect may divert attention from the meeting between Biden and Xi.

And, of course, there is then the possibility that these people may end up reaping a great deal of personal gain from this arrangement. They are well aware that such an outcome is impossible, and yet they continue to charge bullheadedly down the path. This is the real tragedy of the Taiwanese people!

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About Pinyu Hwang 34 Articles
I'm an undergraduate student at Yale University interested in linguistics and computer science. With a childhood split between Taiwan and the US, I'm fond of pinball machines in the night markets, macarons, tea, stories, and language.

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