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Home / Asia / Trump breaks US policy stance with direct Taiwan call

Trump breaks US policy stance with direct Taiwan call

uns-taiwan-china-mape-2016US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken directly with the president of Taiwan – breaking with US policy set in 1979 when formal relations were cut.
Mr Trump’s transition team said he and Tsai Ing-wen noted “close economic, political, and security ties” between the US and Taiwan in a phone call.
The move risks angering China, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reportedly dismissed the call as a “small move” by Taiwan.
Mr Trump tweeted that Ms Tsai had called him to congratulate him on winning the US election.
His team said that the US president-elect had also congratulated Ms Tsai on becoming the president of Taiwan in January’s elections.
It is highly unusual for a US president or president-elect to speak to a Taiwanese leader directly.
Following media reports pointing out the risks of angering China, Mr Trump tweeted: “Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”
The White House has said Mr Trump’s conversation did not signal any change in US policy.
Mr Trump’s spokeswoman said he was “well aware” of what US policy has been on Taiwan.
Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, expressing its support for Beijing’s “One China” concept, which states that Taiwan is part of China.
‘Cornerstone of China-US relations’
China has hundreds of missiles pointing towards Taiwan, and has threatened to use force if it seeks independence.
Responding to news of the call, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it opposed any official interaction or military contact between the US and Taiwan, according to Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the conversation between Mr Trump and Ms Tsai was “just a small move by Taiwan” that he believed would not change US policy toward China, according to Hong Kong’s 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 was quoted as saying.
From concern to alarm and anger – Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor, Beijing
The president elect’s decision to turn his back on four decades of US protocol on Taiwan and speak directly to a president of Taiwan will stun policymakers in Beijing.
Since his election last month, they have struggled to understand who is advising Donald Trump on Asia and what his China policy will look like.
This move will turn concern into alarm and anger.
Beijing sees Taiwan as a province and denying it any of the trappings of an independent state is one of the key priorities of Chinese foreign policy.-UNS/BBC

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