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Trump speaks with Taiwan’s president, risking China tensions

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President-elect Donald Trump spoke Dec. 2, with the president of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979. It is highly unusual, perhaps unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a Taiwanese leader and will be sure to anger China. Washington has pursued a so-called “one China” policy since 1979 when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

NEW YORK >> President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China.

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

Washington has pursued a so-called “one China” policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

A statement from Trump’s transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations. It was not clear who initiated the call.

“During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties … between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year,” the statement said.

A Taiwanese source with direct knowledge of the call confirmed it had taken place. The source requested anonymity to speak about it before an official statement was issued on it from Taipei.

The White House learned of the conversation after it had taken place, said a senior Obama administration official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic relations involved.

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Friday’s call is the most stark example yet of how Trump has flouted diplomatic conventions since he won the Nov. 8 election. He has apparently undertaken calls with foreign leaders without guidance customarily lent by the State Department, which oversees U.S. diplomacy.

Over the decades, the status of Taiwan has been one of the most sensitive issues in U.S.-China relations. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken by force, if necessary, if it seeks independence. It would regard any recognition of a Taiwanese leader as a head of state as unacceptable.

Taiwan split from the Chinese mainland amid civil war in 1949. The U.S. policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan’s status as unsettled.

Although the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it has close unofficial ties. Taiwan’s government has a representative office in Washington and other U.S. cities. The U.S. also has legal commitments to help Taiwan maintain the ability to defend itself.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Trump’s conversation does not signal any change to long-standing U.S. policy on “cross-strait” issues.

“We remain firmly committed to our ‘one China’ policy,” Price said. “Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-strait relations.”

Tsai was democratically elected in January and took office in May. The traditional independence-leaning policies of her party have strained relations with Beijing.

Diplomatic protocol dictates that Taiwanese presidents can transit through the U.S. but not visit Washington.

Douglas Paal, who served as head of the American Institute in Taiwan during the George W. Bush administration, said that to his knowledge the call was unprecedented. He said he expected Beijing to issue a verbal warning that there’s no space to change the rules over Taiwan relations.

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  • Oh Joy, the AP gets its panties all in a bind over President Trump doing to the Communist Party in China what President Reagan did to the Communist Party in Russia. Who can forget the end of the Soviet Union? The Dems still like to pretend Russia is still an evil empire when all they are trying to do is sell oil and gas to Europe. All the Navy has to do is block tankers from carrying Midddle East oil to China, forcing China to go back to burning its coal to keep the lights on and the Army owned factories churning out junk.

    • You seem to know as little as Mr. Trump. And that’s saying something.

      So you are comparing the strategic global supply chain role of China is the same as the former Soviet Union?

      Mr. Trump’s supporters are as clueless as Mr. Trump himself. It’s a national disgrace.

      • How long will it take you to figure out you’re almost always wrong? You were wrong about the election, you were wrong about what Trump would do.
        Nothing worse than a knowitall that doesn’t know *hit but thinks he does.

        • I was wrong about the election.

          I’m not wrong about Mr. Trump’s spectacular incompetence and mental illness.

          People who voted for Trump (2.5 million or so fewer than voted for Mrs. Clinton) should be ashamed of themselves.

      • Its OK for Obama to make an apology tour around the World in his first 3 months but Trump is chastized for answering a call. BTW, Trump will never bow to a Saudi Prince and Melania will not wrap her arms around the Queens shoulder. Who the hell is China? Without a US consummer market China will revert back to the stone age and use human waste to grow rice. Get used to Trump–#MAGA!

        • Yes jones, who are these China consumers? The very trump supporters who shop at Walmart,Kmart,Target,Macy,etc.etc. Guess what? They won’t buy American because it will be too expensive. Trumponomics

  • It would normally be impossible that a President-Elect could possibly be this incompetent and ignorant. But now we’re dealing with Donald Trump, who has made it his life’s work to learn absolutely nothing about foreign policy and foreign trade. Nothing. He’s an ignoramus.

  • Another Non-Credible news agency NYT:
    “Media Freaks after Trump Talks to World leaders”. Freaks? My Eye freaks! Maybe the only ones “Freaking” out are the Libs and the MSM. And really? Who cares what Chins thinks. Others,such as myself, see this as a sign of diplomacy, reaching out to the other countries and scheduling future Negotiations.
    Way to go President Trump! Let’s show our “Career Politicians”, how it’s done. Drain the Swamp!

    • You can wave your cheerleader pom poms at every single blunder Mr. Trump makes, to try to hide Trump’s remarkable incompetence. Get ready to be a full time cheerleader.

      He’s a psychotic.

      • Right now it looks like you’re the psychotic. It probably better you not concern yourself with matters beyond your limited understanding and comprehension. You know the old saying .. better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you may be an idiot than to speak and remove all doubt.

  • Seeing how the Republic of China (Taiwan) is THE ONLY functioning and vibrant (mostly) ethnically Chinese democratic NATION on Earth, I think it’s a great idea that the president elect talk with the democratically elected president of that island nation!

    What else is there?

    China: Controlled by a brutal, criminal, human rights violating kleptocracy under the guise of “Communism”.

    Singapore: A “benevolent dictatorship” with a one party stronghold on politics and repression to anyone that dares speak out against it.

    Hong Kong: Never a nation despite it’s allegedly independent judiciary, open media and free wheeling financial system and always a colony by either the Brits or now the Chinese kleptocracy. Even HK is losing all its window dressing freedoms right now as we speak as a political purge is happening against pro independence (from China) legislators with the undercover help of the kleptocracy.

  • “Although the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it has close unofficial ties. Taiwan’s government has a representative office in Washington and other U.S. cities. The U.S. also has legal commitments to help Taiwan maintain the ability to defend itself.”

    So what’s the point in trying to pretend Taiwan doesn’t exist? Do people really think China is that stupid and unaware of what we have going on with Taiwan? Check what you own. Lots of our products are made in Taiwan and China knows it.

    There’s absolutely no need to panic about PE Trump’s foreign policy inexperience. Why? Because of his experience in business worldwide. Foreign leaders (including China) respect his business mindset and no nonsense personality. They admire his personal accomplishments and they like that he doesn’t sugarcoat what he says – Much to the dismay of many Americans.

    PE Trump has publicly stated on more than one occasion that he respects China and that they’re smarter than we are in trade because of our leadership. He also stated that he’s had a wonderful business relationship with them, noting that their biggest bank in the US is right there in Trump Tower.

    Right now the problem is that Americans aren’t used to seeing this kind of transparency in their government. This whole story from the AP is nothing more than an attempt to discredit a very smart man who’s going to lead this country in a way they’re not used to seeing. Yes, HRC got the popular vote, but in every poll, about 70% of Americans felt that this country was headed in the wrong direction. Those two facts contradict themselves in a way. One thing for certain, change has begun.

  • Love all the liberals whining “omg Trump is going to start a war!” We’ll remember when Mitt was right about Russia being our biggest adversary and the Dems laughed about the Cold War? Libs, Dems & MSM should grab a cold glass of shut the hell up.

  • And if Mr Trump hadn’t takene the call, the narrative would have been “Oh my God, Donald Trump ignores Taiwan, embolding Chinese” or some such hysterical nonsense.

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