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US elections 2020

China's 'red lines' on Taiwan in play as Biden challenges Trump

Island seeks to grow international presence while avoiding attack from Beijing

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, center, is flanked by U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Joe Biden, his opponent in next month's election. Taiwan has benefited from Trump's policies, but its public is divided on split on whether to support the incumbent or his challenger. (Source photos by Reuters) 

TAIPEI -- In December 2016, Donald Trump signaled a new tack in U.S.-Taiwan relations when he answered a call from President Tsai Ing-wen to congratulate him on his recent election win -- the first time since 1979 that a U.S. president or president-elect had directly spoken with his Taiwan counterpart.

This break of protocol angered China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and forbids international recognition of the island under its "One China" policy. Taipei has taken advantage of the U.S.-China trade, tech and security tensions sparked by Trump, rising anti-Beijing sentiment globally, and has harnessed its success in taming the coronavirus pandemic to boost both its local economy and international relations.

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