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Biden’s delegation to Taiwan a new form of US diplomacy

New diplomatic maneuver puts functions before formalities: China expert

President Tsai Ing-wen (right) meets former US Senator Chris Dodd (Presidential Office photo)

President Tsai Ing-wen (right) meets former US Senator Chris Dodd (Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The visit by U.S. President Joe Biden’s delegation to Taiwan has been lauded by an expert on China issues as a new form of American diplomacy that prioritizes substance over formalism.

Jerome Cohen, a law professor at New York University and senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, commented in a series of tweets Wednesday (April 14) that the unofficial mission has set the example for “deemphasizing the formalities of interstate relations and instead focusing on the facts and functions.”

Given the distinctive status of Taiwan and the sensitivity of cross-strait relations, the approach can be “progressive without being unacceptably provocative,” he reckoned. Cohen also expressed hope that this strategy of informal interactions can continue.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, one of the emissaries visiting Taiwan and a good friend of Biden's, is reportedly a candidate for the new U.S. ambassador to China. He believes Dodd can assume a “broader, more flexible role” in the Biden administration.

The mission, which comprises Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday. It is seen by many as a sign of Biden’s commitment to the East Asian country.

In her meeting with the elder statesmen on Thursday (April 15), Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called for the resumption of the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and closer bilateral cooperation on fighting disinformation and cognitive warfare. Meanwhile, China carried out what it termed “combat drills” near Taiwan in apparent protest.

Updated : 2021-05-11 04:01 GMT+08:00