The recent election that resulted in Lai Ching-te being named president of Taiwan was seen across the country and around the world as a sign of resistance against China’s ongoing claims of dominance over Taiwan.
After winning the election, the incoming president called the result a “victory for the community of democracies” and praised Taiwanese voters for standing against “external forces” intent on shaping the future of the country.
“Taiwanese people have the right to choose their own president,” Lai said.
While the candidate’s victory resonated among political leaders in nations including the U.S., President Joe Biden made it clear that his administration rejects Lai’s call for a sovereign Taiwan.
Confirming his common ground with the Chinese communist party’s stance on Taiwan, Biden declared: “We do not support independence.”
While the president has made similar assertions on previous occasions, he also claimed in 2022 that the U.S. would step in to defend Taiwan if China attempted to exert its perceived dominance by force.
“That’s the commitment we made,” he said at the time, before reiterating his support for a “One China policy” that would reintegrate Taiwan as a Chinese territory.
“But the idea that it could be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not appropriate,” Biden said. “It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. And so it’s a burden that is even stronger.”
American officials across the political spectrum offered congratulations to the incoming Taiwanese president, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who is planning to lead a congressional delegation to the country later this year.
We congratulate William Lai on his election as the next President of Taiwan and we are happy to see democracy thriving among the Taiwanese people.
The United States is eager to work with President-elect Lai and build on the strong partnership we’ve enjoyed with President Tsai.…
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) January 13, 2024
Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement congratulating Lai as well as “the Taiwan people for participating in free and fair elections and demonstrating the strength of their democratic system.”
Of course, he has also echoed the White House’s policy regarding the ongoing hostility between Taiwan and China.
He offered a public statement on the matter in June, affirming: “We do not support Taiwan independence. We remain opposed to any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side.”