US President-elect Donald Trump has broken decades of US diplomatic policy and spoken to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, much to the dislike of China. Surprisingly, China dismissed it as a minor and inconsequential “trick by Taiwan”.
On Friday Trump had a phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen where the two sides are said to have discussed their ties ranging over various issues.
“President-elect Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, who offered her congratulations… During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties existing between Taiwan and the United States,” the US presidential transition team said.
The Taiwanese presidential office also issued a statement saying Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of US relations with Taiwan.
Trump’s conversation to Taiwanese President on Friday was among a series of talks he had with the leaders of Asian countries on phone before taking office.
The New York Times said the move by Trump is “a striking break with nearly four decades of diplomatic practice that could precipitate a major rift with China” even before Trump takes office.
He is believed to be the first President-elect or President to have spoken with a Taiwanese leader since 1979 when the US served its diplomatic ties with Taiwan after its recognition of China.
The Washington Post described this as a “breach of diplomatic protocol” with ramifications for Trump Administration’s relationship with China.
“The telephone call is certain to incense China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province. It is the first major sign of the unpredictability that Trump has vowed to bring to long-held US relations with the rest of the world,” CNN reported.
Interestingly, China today played down Trump’s move as something that cannot change the One-China framework or damage Sino-US ties.
“I do not think it will change the One-China policy that the US government has insisted on applying over the years,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said as reported by Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.
“The One-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-US relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged,” he added.
Like most of the countries in the world, US too pursued a so-called “One-China” policy since 1979, when it shifted its diplomatic recognition by formally recognising People’s Republic of China (PRC) instead of Taiwan which broke off with mainland in 1949 after the formation of the PRC. And the US continued to maintain low-key contacts with Taiwan including supplying military hardware to it.
(With inputs from agencies)