United States President-elect Joe Biden’s policy towards Taiwan has not been articulated. But even without details, there can be certainty that it will not be as incendiary as the approach of outgoing leader Donald Trump’s administration. With days remaining in his term, stepped-up efforts are being made to lock in a tough policy towards China, the latest efforts being a phone call between US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, and Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lifted a bar on official contacts with the island. The moves understandably angered Beijing, but given they were made by people who will soon have relinquished their authority, there is every chance of a return to pragmatic and seasoned statesmanship. Craft was to have visited Taiwan this week, the first envoy of her standing to do so since relations between Washington and Beijing were established in 1979. But the sudden cancellation by the US State Department of all overseas travel to ensure a smooth transition of power put paid to the trip, which was to have included lunch with Tsai. Although there was no face-to-face meeting, the phone call was as inflammatory, breaking protocol under which the US had agreed to strictly abide by a one-China principle and refrain from official exchanges with Taiwan. Tsai was told the US “stands with Taiwan and always will”. The ambassador, Pompeo and other Trump appointees will lose their positions when Biden takes office next Wednesday. Under Trump, well-established diplomatic practice was eroded with multiple arms sales and increasingly high-level visits; Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the first sitting cabinet member to go to the island in August. Craft similarly broke protocol when she held talks with Taiwan’s de facto representative to New York in the city the following month. Biden has extensive foreign policy experience and is well aware of how sensitive the Taiwan issue is for Beijing. Those chosen for his cabinet know the importance of pragmatism and diplomacy. His choice for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, showed that when quietly receiving Taiwan’s congratulations on Biden’s presidential election win in November. The dangerous ways of the Trump administration have to end.