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The State Department’s Bipartisan Taiwan Diplomacy

A Taiwanese sailor holds his country’s flag on a frigate in 2008. (Nicky Loh / Reuters)

When outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced a decision to rescind the State Department’s guidelines on diplomatic contact with Taiwan last month, one of the complaints was that the move would constrain his successor’s foreign policy. The problem with that argument was that Joe Biden has long been a supporter of Taiwan’s security and that his team would likely hold onto the Pompeo move.

And an apparent Biden administration decision to maintain the policy was revealed this afternoon when Taiwan’s representative in the U.S., Bi-khim Hsiao, met a top State Department official at the department’s headquarters in Washington today. Their meeting likely would’ve been prohibited by the guidelines that the previous administration mothballed.

The effort to pave the way for more respectful diplomatic engagement with Taipei in accordance with longstanding U.S. policy through scrapping the old, restrictive guidelines was a bipartisan move, despite the unfounded criticism that it initially received. The Biden-Blinken team deserves credit for apparently keeping the previous administration’s move in place.

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