US and Taiwan are closer: risk or opportunity for Biden?

A few days after Trump’s lapse as president of the United States, the outgoing administration of the White House bequeaths the new President Biden a hostile political act towards China, which cannot help but complicate relations between Beijing and the new administration of Washington. In practice, the Secretary of State, in one of his latest administrative acts, eliminated the restrictions in force between American and Taiwanese officials. Although the US has never formally recognized Formosa, they are its main ally, to which they supply huge quantities of war material, and manage relations with the capital Taipei through the American Institute of Taiwan, a name behind which there is a real unofficial US embassy. The decision to send the US ambassador to the United Nations to visit Taiwan, after the recent mission of the US Secretary of Health, also represents a reason for deep resentment on the part of Beijing; on the other hand, all these measures have the highest satisfaction of the Taipei administration, which sees the end of bilateral discrimination between the United States and Taiwan, conditioned, precisely by continued Chinese pressure. For Beijing, Taiwan is considered a non-alienable part of the Chinese territory and even though Taipei is functioning as an independent state, reunification with the motherland is an indispensable part of the Chinese project to effectively exercise its sovereignty on the island. For Beijing it is a non-negotiable condition to have diplomatic relations with China not to have one with Taiwan, in fact, at the moment there are only seven nations, including the Vatican, that have formal relations with Taipei. Donald Trump, without going so far as to establish the official nature of the relations with the formal steps, which are required internationally, has established very cordial, if not friendly, relations with Taiwan, which must be included in the containment program of the Chinese giant in what Beijing considers its zone of exclusive influence. As it is no mystery the collaboration between the US military and those of Formosa, in addition to the aforementioned supplies of weapons, on the contrary the Chinese tones have risen, to the point of making public the possibility of making an armed option possible for the reconquest of the island. The resulting issues are essentially two: the action of the Secretary of State was certainly carried out without coordination with the next administration and at first glance it appears as a disturbing action, even if framed in the logical political continuation of the program of Trump’s foreign policy. We do not yet know how Biden wants to set up relations on China: from the electoral program there appeared a desire for more relaxed relations, but more or less coinciding on the desire to identify Beijing as the main competitor at the international level and the desire to limit it as much possible. This program includes a new relationship with Europe, to downsize relations between Brussels and Beijing, but also to contain Chinese power right on the line of its borders, considering the great importance of the communication routes on the Asian side of the Pacific Ocean, which cannot be left to Chinese management. The issue is both commercial and geopolitical. An expansion of the Chinese political weight, which could pass from economic to military, cannot be tolerated, neither by a republican politician nor by a democratic one: on the other hand, Obama had already shifted the main attention of the United States from Europe to the Asian regions around China, considering this region much more important from a strategic point of view for the USA. The outgoing Secretary of State apparently would have done an act to the detriment of Biden, but, in reality, he could have accelerated a process that the new American administration would have had to carry out anyway, given that for Washington the alliance with Taiwan appears indispensable precisely because of the Chinese threats, which, if carried out, would deprive the United States of an indispensable strategic position for partial control of the region. It is certainly a highly unstable equilibrium because it is subject to potential and continuous accidents, between two parties whose agreement on this issue is currently impossible.