Donald Trump has broken with 37 years of US diplomatic policy on Taiwan—and China is fuming. Beijing lodged an official diplomatic protest Saturday over Trump's phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which is believed to be the first time in 37 years that a US president or president-elect has spoken directly to a leader of what China still considers to be a renegade province, reports Reuters. "We have already made solemn representations about it to the relevant US side. It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that the "one China principle is the political basis of the China-US relationship." A round-up of coverage:
- A White House spokesman declined to comment Friday on whether Beijing had been in touch about the Trump call, reports the Washington Post. Ned Price stressed to reporters that there has been no change to US policy on Taiwan.
- In a tweet as the controversy grew on Friday, Trump said it had been the Taiwanese leader that called him. In a follow-up tweet, he said: "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call."
- The Guardian reports that an editorial in the government-controlled Global Times tabloid warned Trump against getting any closer to Taiwan, while expressing hope that he would gain a better understanding of the situation after taking office. "If Trump wants to overstep the One-China principle,
he will destroy Sino-US ties," the paper said. "That means the current pattern between Beijing and Washington as well as international order will be overturned. We believe this is not what Trump wants."
- Sources tell the Taipei Times that Trump agreed to the call, which was arranged by " Taiwan-friendly members of his campaign staff" after they briefed him on the issues involved.
- CNN reports that when asked about the call Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi downplayed it as a "shenanigan by the Taiwan side," adding that the one China policy is the foundation of healthy US-China relations, and saying he hopes that foundation "won't be disrupted or damaged."
- Xinhua reports that on Friday, before controversy erupted, Henry Kissinger was in Beijing and met with President Xi Jinping. "The development of China-US ties since the forging of diplomatic ties has proven our common interests far outweigh differences," Xi is quoted as saying.
- Analysts tell the New York Times that China may have been taken off guard by the call, but the country's leaders now have a better idea of what to expect from a Trump presidency. "This is a wake-up call for Beijing—we should buckle up for a pretty rocky six months or year in the China-US relationship," says Wang Dong from the School of International Studies at Peking University. "There was a sort of delusion based on overly optimistic ideas about Trump. That should stop."
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