Throughout the Trump administration, the US took steps to increase ties with Taiwan as part of a broader campaign against Beijing. These steps included visits to Taiwan from high-level US officials and lifting restrictions on State Department contacts with Taiwan.
In a signal to Beijing that high-level US-Taiwan contacts will continue, Taipei’s top envoy in the US, Hsiao Bi-khim, visited President Biden’s State Department on Wednesday. Hsiao met with Sung Yong Kim, the acting secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. The meeting followed a pattern of similar visits that started in July 2020 under the Trump administration after restrictions were eased.
The State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs shared a picture of the meeting on Twitter. “The US is deepening ties with Taiwan, a leading democracy and important economic and security partner,” the tweet said. It marked the first formal meeting between US and Taiwanese officials that was announced publicly under the Biden administration.
Hsiao attended President Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, a first for a Taiwanese official in her position since Washington severed diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979.
The Trump administration continued the tradition of arming Taiwan and pushed through massive weapons packages for Taipei. US military activity near Taiwan also stepped up during Trump’s term. The administration sailed 13 US warships through the sensitive Taiwan Strait in 2020. Last week, the Biden administration sent a warship through the Strait, and US military planes have been spotted flying near Taiwan in the first weeks of Biden’s presidency.