The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting with senior Chinese official Liu Jianchao in Washington on Friday, a day before the Taiwan elections.
What Happened: The meeting, set for Jan. 12, is expected to address the U.S.-China relationship, which has significantly deteriorated over the past year, reported Reuters. The upcoming Taiwan elections are seen as a test for the Biden administration’s efforts to stabilize its ties with China.
Despite the historical lows in the U.S.-China relationship, the meetings are aimed at reducing tensions that typically arise from elections in Taiwan.
The Biden administration has previously urged China to respect Taiwan’s election integrity, stressing its neutral stance on Taiwan’s democratic process. The U.S. has also warned China against interfering in the elections, asserting that any escalation would be instigated by Beijing.
Why It Matters: The upcoming Taiwan elections are seen as a wildcard for the Biden administration’s efforts to stabilize ties with China. China has been accused of intense election interference by the Taiwanese government, using military activities and trade sanctions to influence the vote in favor of Beijing-friendly candidates.
The U.S., Taiwan’s most critical international supporter and arms supplier, has issued warnings against Chinese interference in the island’s elections. Liu, the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department, will be leading the Chinese delegation at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s presidential candidate, Lai Ching Te, has pledged to maintain the status quo while promoting peace through strength, expressing openness to discussions with Beijing on equal terms. This stance could further complicate the U.S.-China-Taiwan relationship.
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