Biden Says He and Xi Jinping 'Agree to Abide by Taiwan Agreement'

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to “abide by the Taiwan agreement” during their most recent phone call on September 9, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Asked by a journalist at the White House on October 5 if he had “any comments towards China’s provocation over Taiwan,” Biden replied:

Well, China has … I’ve spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree … we’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement. That’s where we are. And we made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.

The “Taiwan agreement” is an unofficial name for a long-standing policy dictating Beijing and Washington’s relationship with Taipei. Under the agreement, the U.S. officially recognizes China rather than Taiwan for diplomatic purposes. The agreement is supported by the Taiwan Relations Act which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979. The legislation “makes clear that the U.S. decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing instead of Taiwan rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means,” Reuters recalled on Wednesday.

“While that act binds the United States to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, Washington only acknowledges China’s stance that the island belongs to it and that there is ‘one China,’ and takes no position on Taiwan’s sovereignty,” the news agency noted.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the “one-China” policy so that foreign governments could officially recognize Beijing’s stance that only one legitimate Chinese government exists. The policy stipulates that the CCP is the sole ruler of China’s government. The U.S. recognizes and maintains formal ties with China according to this policy, which, by definition, limits the relationship Washington may establish with Taipei.

Military personnel stand in formation next to a portrait of China

A female pilot exits the cockpit of a Chengdu Aircraft Corporation’s J-10 for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) after a flight demonstration program at the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, in southern China’s Guangdong province on September 28, 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

Gabrielle Reyes