December 4, 2020

On Friday, the Taiwan Center for Security Studies (TCSS) held a roundtable discussion on the Biden Administration. The event was represented by members of the foreign diplomatic community in Taiwan, as well as experts and scholars in the field, taking place at National Chengchi University (NCCU). The event was held in accordance with Chatham House Rules and touched on recent developments regarding the US-elections, the incoming administration, and what it means for the future of US-China-Taiwan relations.

The two-hour discussion touched on pressing matters such as US foreign policy towards Taiwan, their strategy in the Asia Pacific, the legitimacy of Taiwan on the international stage, how diplomacy can be conducted for a nation such as Taiwan, and the geo-strategic dynamics at play during such tumultuous times.

Professor Yuan analyzes the current state of US-Taiwan Relations.  Pictured Right: Director FuKuo Liu leads a dialogue with members of the diplomatic community; From left to right, General Edmer Vargas (Republic of Guatemala), H.E. Ambassador Jarden Kephas (Republic of Nauru), H.E. Ambassador Edwin Laurent (Saint Lucia), Dr. Fu-Kuo Liu (Director, Taiwan Center for Security Studies)

The dialogue initially focused on what can be expected from a Biden presidency. Some experts pointed out that Biden’s position would most likely be a midway point between Obama and Trump, combining aspects from both administrations towards an Indo-Pacific Rebalancing Strategy.  Though it is unlikely that the next administration would bring forth substantial change with regards to policy towards the region. What would be noticeable would be a more sophisticated multilateral approach US strategy to contain China, though its topmost priority will nonetheless be in combating the COVID-19 pandemic domestically.

On the issue of Taiwan, it was quite clear that Taiwan’s most significant challenge moving forward is keeping its formal diplomatic allies. “Regardless of US military support, if Taiwan loses its diplomatic allies then Taiwan’s legitimacy will also be lost”. The point was raised when the debate on whether the US should reevaluate its commitment to Taiwan from its longstanding “strategic ambiguity” towards a newfound “strategic clarity”.

“Taiwan should be wary of focusing solely on US-policy and focus more on its regional allies”, another speaker expressed. The current administration in Taiwan would do well to divert more attention towards the allies that Taiwan has in the region, as the relationship that Taiwan and the US currently have—despite its recent progress—is far from a cozy one.

Pictured Left: H.E. Ambassador Mirna Mariela Rivera Andino (Nicaragua) and H.E. Ambassador Andrea Clare Bowman (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) contributing to the discussion. Pictured Right: Post discussion group photo with all participants.

The discussion closed with comments to take these ideas and suggestions into concrete actions outside of the conference room and proposed more workshops and further dialogue as we head into 2021.

Following the event, the attendees were taken on a tour of the Dah Hsian Seetoo Library at NCCU. The new facility includes a co-working maker space, 3D-printing labs, multimedia creative learning spaces, exhibition areas, and a lakeside reading house

Pictured: A tour of the Dah Hsian Seetoo Library at NCCU concluded with a round of group photos