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America’s Taiwan policy ‘has not changed one bit’: US scholar

Steven Goldstein describes US policy of strategic ambiguity as one of ‘dual deterrence’

 (Getty Images)

 (Getty Images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. foreign policy with respect to Taiwan has not changed, according to an American scholar.

“The situation in the Taiwan Strait and Afghanistan are totally different,” said Steven Goldstein, an associate of the Fairbank Center and the director of the Taiwan Studies Workshop at Harvard University, in an interview with CNA.

“Taiwan’s status in American foreign policy has not changed one bit,” he stressed.

“As opposed to Afghanistan, the United States has a vital national interest to pursue in the Taiwan Strait,” Goldstein added. He then pointed out that the foundation of American policy is to avoid conflict in the region through the “preservation of the status quo.”

Goldstein said that one of the ways the U.S. maintains this is through a situation of “mutual frustration,” whereby Taiwan is not able to formally declare independence, while China is deterred from taking over Taiwan by military force due to the possibility of American military intervention. “So neither side is happy with the situation,” he told CNA.

The U.S. scholar then goes on to explain that America’s decades-old policy of strategic ambiguity is one of “dual deterrence” in which Taiwan is deterred from unilaterally declaring independence and China is deterred from using military force, while at the same time assuring Taipei that Washington will support its present status and assuring Beijing that America will not support Taiwanese independence if China refrains from attack.

Goldstein then noted that since Biden is working on getting his domestic policy package passed in the U.S., the president needs the support of Congress. And “Congress is a very strong supporter of Taiwan,” which also acts as a restraint on any radical change in American foreign policy toward Taiwan.