China Concerned by Trump Questioning Taiwan Policy

China Concerned by Trump Questioning Taiwan PolicyChina Concerned by Trump Questioning Taiwan Policy

The Chinese government has warned Donald Trump it is “seriously concerned” after the US president-elect indicated he might jettison a four-decade understanding with Beijing unless its leaders were prepared to strike a new “deal” with his administration.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the president-elect said he saw no reason why the US should continuing abiding by the “One China” policy–under which Washington does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state–unless Beijing was prepared to enter into some kind of bargain.

“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump told the channel.

According to the Guardian, Washington’s acceptance of the “One China” principle–based on which Taiwan is officially regarded as part of the same single Chinese nation as the mainland–has been a crucial part of the foundation of US-China relations since ties between the two countries were reestablished by Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong in 1972.

Trump’s comments drew an angry riposte from Beijing. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters that bilateral ties and “the sound and steady growth of China-US relations” would be “out of the question” were Trump to turn away from the “One China” policy.

“We urge the incoming US administration and its leaders to fully recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan question … [and] to properly deal with Taiwan-related matters in a prudent manner so as not to disrupt or damage the overall interests of the bilateral relationship,” he said.

Geng described the “One China” principle as the “political bedrock” of ties between the two countries.

The question of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province that should one day be reunified with the mainland, was one of China’s “core interests”, the spokesman pointed out.

Trump’s comments came less than a fortnight after he looked to have initiated a potentially damaging diplomatic row with Beijing by holding a telephone conversation with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, and subsequently attacking China on Twitter.

In what was widely seen as an attempt to soothe tensions, Trump subsequently appointed the Iowa governor, Terry Branstad–a man China called “an old friend of the Chinese people”–as ambassador to Beijing.

Speaking on Sunday, Trump defended his decision to talk to President Tsai on December 2 and said, “I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put in to me.”

“It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call? I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it,” he added.

The president-elect also criticized China by saying, “We’re being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don’t tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn’t be doing, and frankly with not helping us at all with North Korea,” he told Fox News.

“You have North Korea. You have nuclear weapons and China could solve that problem and they’re not helping us at all.”

Nick Bisley, an international relations expert from La Trobe University in Melbourne, said, “The signal Trump is sending to China is: ‘You are not going to push us around; you are not going to dictate terms; we are going to be the ones who dictate terms to you’. And he’s also signaling, whether deliberately or not, that there are no sacred cows in US foreign policy, whether in Asia or anywhere else.”

Li Yonghui, the head of the school of international relations at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, said Trump was “testing the water” with China before taking office next month.

 “If the US wants to change the ‘One-China’ policy, then it will shake the foundations of Sino-US relations. [The consequences] are hard to imagine,” the Chinese academic warnd.

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