(TibetanReview.net, Dec05, 2016) – US President-elect Donald Trump has on Dec 3 shrugged off China’s protest over his phone conversation the day before with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, wondering why he should not accept a congratulatory call from a country to which his government sells billions of dollars of military equipment.
The US severed diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979, after it switched diplomatic recognition to communist ruled China, but maintained close unofficial ties and deep economic and defense relations. The US is required by law to provide Taiwan with weapons to maintain its defense. Its policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan’s status as unsettled.
Historically, the call markedthe first such conversation between a Taiwanese leader and any US president or president-elect since 1979.
In his response, seen by the AP Dec 3 as understated, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi Dec 3 said the phone contact was “just a small trick by Taiwan”that he believed would not change US policy toward China.
He has called the one-China policy the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-US relations while expressing hope that “this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged”.
The report also cited Chinese officials as saying they had lodged a complaint with the US and reiterated a commitment to seeking “reunification” with the island, which they consider a renegade province to be retaken by force if necessary.
Taiwan split from the Chinese mainland in 1949 after a civil war in which the nationalist Kuomintang party lost power to the communists and re-established itself on the island of Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, has said Trump’s conversation did not signal any change to long-standing US policy on cross-strait issues.
The Taiwanese presidential office was cited as saying Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of US relations with Taiwan. “The (Taiwanese) president is looking forward to strengthening bilateral interactions and contacts as well as setting up closer cooperative relations,” the statement was quoted as saying.
Tsai has also hoped the US would support Taiwan in its participation in international affairs, apparentlyreferring to China’s efforts to isolate Taiwan from global institutions such as the United Nations.
The report also cited Taiwan’s presidential office spokesman Alex Huang as saying separately that Taiwan’s relations with China and “healthy” Taiwan-US relations could proceed in parallel. “There is no conflict.”
This view is, however, note shared by China whose foreign ministry spokesmanGeng Shuang was quoted as saying in a statement, “It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory.”
Last month, Trump had a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping during which Trump’s office described him as saying he believed the two would have “one of the strongest relationships for both countries.”