The incoming Biden administration could struggle in managing its relationship with Taiwan — a precarious issue that has contributed to worsening U.S.-China relations, an expert on political risk said on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump broke with decades of U.S. foreign policy by moving his country closer to Taiwan over the last four years — angering Beijing which considers the democratic and self-ruled island a runaway province that must one day be reunited with the mainland.
The Chinese Communist Party has never governed Taiwan.
«The Biden administration is certainly going to struggle with the conduct of relations with Taiwan,» Ross Feingold, director of business development at security advisory firm SafePro Group, told CNBC’s «Squawk Box Asia.»
«Over the past four years, the Trump administration has taken many steps to really engage with Taiwan in the same way that United States would engage with other foreign countries even if they’re still not using the terminology or having formal diplomatic relations,» he said.
Steps taken by the Trump administration include conducting high-level visits to Taiwan. This week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft is scheduled to travel to Taipei and is expected to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Over the weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the lifting of all «self-imposed restrictions» on contact between U.S. officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. That’s a move that former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd — who’s also an astute China observer — said could put an end to the «one China policy» underpinning U.S.-China relations.
Beijing, as expected, slammed all of those moves by the Trump administration.
It is currently unclear what President-elect Joe Biden’s stance is on Taiwan, said Feingold, who’s also senior advisor at political risk consultancy DC International Advisory. He told CNBC in an email that Biden may simply continue with policies that the Trump administration has implemented.
«The enthusiasm for new or bold additional moves might be different, or non-existent,» he said.