Monday, August 29, 2011

US Vice President Joseph Biden visits China

l  For the first time since assuming office in January 2009, US Vice President Joseph Biden traveled to China last week on an official visit. Though Washington reassured Taipei that Taiwan is not a priority issue on Biden’s agenda, there was nevertheless a lot of interest and anxiety in Taiwan over possible impact on US-Taiwan relations, particularly arms sale.

l  Taipei wanted to make sure that Washington would not neglect the so-called “Six Assurances,” particularly that the US would not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan; would not alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA); and would not consult China before making decisions about US arms sales to Taiwan.

l  With less than five months to go before Taiwan's next presidential and legislative elections, issues pertinent to US-China-Taiwan relations can take on added political significance in the island's highly confrontational politics. This is the primary reason why Biden’s trip to China had attracted so much attention in Taiwan.

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