Friday, September 22

Biden and Xi need to summarize Taiwan talks, think tank says

A meeting between Biden and Xi at the upcoming G-20 Summit in November is on the cards, and that would be a good opportunity for the US and China to start reengaging with each other, an analyst said.

Mandel Ngan | Afp | Getty Images

The United States and China need to reopen dialogue on the Taiwan issue — but such a conversation should take place discreetly, an analyst said.

The two superpowers are currently playing a “blame game” with each other, and dialogue needs to be reestablished, said Paul Haenle, who holds the Maurice R. Greenberg director’s chair at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Cross-strait tensions between China and Taiwan have become “increasingly dangerous” ever since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit in early August, he added.

Pelosi visited Taiwan despite China’s repeated warnings, prompting Beijing to launch military drills in the seas and airspaces around the island and fire ballistic missiles over Taipei in August.

On top of that, China announced in the same month that it had shelved military and climate talks with the United States.

Taiwan is a self-ruled democracy, but Beijing considers the island part of its territory and a breakaway province.

“The Chinese have pulled down the dialogue in the aftermath of Pelosi’s visit. I would argue, frankly, you got to open it up,” Haenle said.

But US President Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping need to avoid a public negotiation over the Taiwan issue, he added, “because when you put things out in the public, and you point to the other side and you criticize and blame, it only works to dig in that side even further.”

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“This has to happen at the highest level between political leaders and it has to happen in quiet discreet channels.”

widening rift

Nevertheless, Burns said the United States hasn’t changed its position on Taiwan and continues to be committed to the “One China” policy.

“I actually don’t think the Chinese have any misunderstanding of US policy. They don’t agree with our policy, but we’ve been clear about the “One China” policy,” Burns said.

Though none of the three wants to see a military conflict erupt, the viewpoints of the United States, China, and Taiwan are continually “diverging, not converging,” Haenle said.

Meeting at G-20?

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