California summit gives momentum for bilateral ties

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-29 10:10
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Tourists take part in a Chinese calligraphy writing activity at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington on Sept 30. LIU JIE/XINHUA

Taiwan question in focus

Looking to next year, analysts said the relations face mounting uncertainties usually in a general election year, which typically features China-bashing rhetoric among the presidential candidates, and it is also a year for the Taiwan regional leadership election.

At the California meeting, Biden reaffirmed the five commitments he made in Bali, Indonesia, a year earlier, which include that the US does not seek a new Cold War, does not support "Taiwan independence", and has no intention to have a conflict with China.

"The US is not seeking the independence of Taiwan, nor are the Europeans," Larres said in an email.

"As far as I know, they all wish to uphold the status quo," he said. "The US and the EU do not favor Taiwan independence and would not support this."

Chas W. Freeman, former US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said the Biden administration's affirmation that the US is not supporting "Taiwan independence" is not rhetoric.

It is intended to caution the candidates in the island elections next month "against assuming that they would have US support for a move toward 'independence'," said Freeman, now a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

"It is a reaffirmation of longstanding US policy that entails domestic political costs in the context of our 2024 elections, in which ill-considered support for Taiwan and fearmongering about China are almost certain to play a role," Freeman added.

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