Biden announces presidential trip to Taiwan amid Trump’s historic meeting with Kim

In the wake of President Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday, his historic dialogue with one of the world’s most brutal dictators, Vice President Biden will travel to Taiwan as part of a weeklong trip to Asia and Australia, the Obama administration announced.

“I’ve seen the incredible growth that this important country has undergone, and it’s made the next step a step we should take with Taiwan,” Biden told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

He added the meeting would be a “stake of hope for the entire region,” and that the U.S. “is proud to be able to engage the people of Taiwan in diplomacy.”

“Should the status quo be imperiled in Taiwan, that would threaten regional stability in the region, create tension between nations that sit on the boundaries of Taiwan and the U.S. would have to take the side of one party over the other,” he said.

Taiwan and the U.S. have been maintaining diplomatic relations since Washington recognized the island republic as part of the People’s Republic of China in 1979. Relations have been rocky in recent years, however, with China’s government issuing a series of threats to “deter” Taiwan from becoming independent.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and calls it part of the “one China” framework, which was agreed to between the communist party and the current Taiwan leadership in 2008. Taiwan, however, is run by the opposition party and views itself as the sovereign democracy in the Taiwan.

Trump’s statement on Monday – a major diplomatic win for the president – came days after he signed into law a bill passed by Congress last year. Called the Taiwan Relations Act, it calls for the U.S. to be “nimble and flexible” in its interactions with the island.

President Donald Trump, who was criticized in the U.S. and in some foreign capitals for caving in to China’s pressure and questioning whether he would meet Kim, said on Monday he would like to meet with the North Korean leader.

“I was delighted that President Xi [Jinping] and I have the opportunity to have the first meeting right now,” Trump said at the U.N. headquarters in New York. “We will figure out how to do that. I’m thinking it will be shortly after I get back here.”

The second meeting on Monday between Trump and Xi comes two days after the two met in Washington, D.C., where Trump signed a bill passed by Congress last year to maintain “pivot and balance” efforts aimed at trying to contain and deter Chinese aggression in the Asia-Pacific region.

Trump said the bill, known as the Taiwan Relations Act, “does not require” the U.S. to change its official line of “one China” and that “there is no timetable for issuing a joint declaration.”

“Whatever becomes of those talks with North Korea, China has made it very clear to me that they want to stop the North Korean nuclear threat,” he said.

“If there is no reason not to do it, we will do it,” he said.

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