Outgoing United States presidents usually stay out of the limelight in their final days in office to enable a smooth transfer of power. Donald Trump is instead continuing his disruptive ways. The announcement that American ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, will visit Taiwan from next Wednesday to Friday, is seemingly aimed at further damaging relations with Beijing. But the strategy is doomed to fail; although the decision has predictably angered China , the change in leadership on January 20 will herald a pragmatic and diplomatic approach to ties. Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen may believe she will get considerable political capital from the visit by Craft, who is expected to deliver a speech on increasing the island’s participation in international organisations. There are concerns she may advocate restoring Taiwan’s membership of the UN, a provocative suggestion given Washington’s agreement when forging ties with Beijing in 1979 to abide by a one-China policy. She will be the third senior member of Trump’s administration to visit. ‘Playing with fire’: China warns US over envoy’s Taiwan mission Relations between Beijing and Taipei are strained and Tsai’s embracing of Trump’s overtures, which have included commercial and arms deals, have deepened fractures. Provoking Beijing in such troubled times is a dangerous game. But no matter how hard the Trump administration tries to entrench its policies, the reality is that Biden will soon be in office. While his highly experienced foreign policy team led by Antony Blinken is unlikely to dramatically alter course – anti-Chinese sentiment among American lawmakers is strong and bipartisan – the emphasis will be on diplomacy rather than provocation. Unlike Trump, who broke established protocol by taking a congratulatory phone call from Tsai after winning the presidency, Biden’s team ensured red lines were not crossed by exchanging low-key messages. Biden has so far not openly stated a policy on Taiwan, although he has promised the US will continue to be tough on China. American presidents have most autonomy on foreign policy and Trump will continue to use that to his perceived benefit while he can. But Biden represents an end to the disruptive ways and a return to pragmatic policymaking.