(TibetanReview.net, Jan10, 2017) – Amid dire warnings from China, US President-elect Donald Trump and members of his transition team did not meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen during her Jan 8 stopover in Houston en route to Central America to visit her country’s allies. However it was not a total victory for China as Tsai was met with by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator to the US Congress Ted Cruz. In fact, Abbot tweeted a photograph showing him meeting Tsai, with a small table between them adorned with the US, Texas and Taiwanese flags.
Tsai will transit on Jan 13 in San Francisco on her way back to Taiwan after visiting Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.
China is suspicious that Tsai wants to push for formal independence for Taiwan, a self-ruled island that has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China but which Beijing regards as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations.
Global Times, a newspaper run by the Communist Party of China mouthpiece People’s Daily, said in an editorial Jan 8 that the mainland would likely impose further diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan, warning that “Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes”.
The editorial further said China “should also impose military pressure on Taiwan and push it to the edge of being reunified by force, so as to effectively affect the approval rating of the Tsai administration.”
China expressed bitter anger when Mr Trump accepted a congratulatory phone call from Tsai after he won the US Presidency, calling it a violation of the one China policy that it expects all countries having diplomatic relations with it to adhere to. Trump later not only defended his action but also questioned his government’s adherence to that policy without trade and other concessions from China.
China rejected the possibility for any such deal. The Global Times editorial made it clear, “Sticking to (the one China) principle is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific.”
And it warned, “If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.”
Meanwhile, Trump has said he will not meet with any foreign leaders before he takes office, but left open the possibility of meeting Tsai after his inauguration on Jan 20.
Responding to a letter some members of Congress had received from the Chinese consulate, asking them not to meet with Tsai during her stopovers, Cruz has said in a statement, “The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves.”
“This is not about the PRC. This is about the US relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend.” Cruz has said he and Tsai discussed upgrading bilateral relations and furthering economic cooperation between their countries, including increased access to Taiwanese markets that will benefit Texas ranchers, farmers and small businesses.
Tsai’s office maintained a low key position about her US meetings, saying only, on Jan 9, that she talked with “friends” during her private and unofficial stopover.