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Trump shrugs off fuss over Taiwan call

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Donald Trump spoke Friday, Dec. 2, with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that will be sure to anger China.

BEIJING >> President-elect Donald Trump is unapologetic about roiling diplomatic waters with his decision to speak on the phone with Taiwan’s leader, a breach of long-standing tradition that risks enmity from China.

The U.S. severed diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979 but has maintained close unofficial relations and a commitment to support its defense.

Trump’s conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen drew an irritated, although understated, response from China, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the contact was “just a small trick by Taiwan” that he believed would not change U.S. policy toward China, according to Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV.

“The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged,” Wang was quoted as saying. Chinese officials said they lodged a complaint with the U.S. and reiterated a commitment to seeking “reunification” with the island, which they consider a renegade province.

After the phone conversation Friday, Trump tweeted that Tsai “CALLED ME.” He also groused about the reaction to the call: “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”

The U.S. shifted diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979. But the governments in Washington and Taipei have maintained close unofficial ties and deep economic and defense relations. The U.S. is required by law to provide Taiwan with weapons to maintain its defense.

Since 2009, the Obama administration has approved $14 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.

The call was the starkest 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 given by the State Department, which oversees U.S. diplomacy.

“President-elect Trump is just shooting from the hip, trying to take phone calls of congratulatory messages from leaders around the world without consideration for the implications,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

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 in 1949. The U.S. policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan’s status as unsettled.

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.

The Taiwanese presidential office said Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of U.S. relations with Taiwan. “The (Taiwanese) president is looking forward to strengthening bilateral interactions and contacts as well as setting up closer cooperative relations,” the statement said.

Tsai also told Trump that she hoped the U.S. would support Taiwan in its participation in international affairs, the office said, in an apparent reference to China’s efforts to isolate Taiwan from global institutions such as the United Nations.

Taiwan’s presidential office spokesman, Alex Huang, said separately that Taiwan’s relations with China and “healthy” Taiwan-U.S. relations can proceed in parallel. “There is no conflict” in that, he said.

China’s foreign ministry said Beijing lodged “solemn representations” with the U.S. over the call.

“It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory,” Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement. “The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China.”

China is likely to be trying to identify whether this signals any intent on the part of Trump to alter long-standing U.S. policy toward Taiwan, Glaser said.

“They will hope that this is a misstep, but I think privately, they will definitely seek to educate this incoming president and ensure that he understands the sensitivity of Taiwan,” she said.

Last month, Trump had a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping during which Trump’s office described him as saying he believed the two would have “one of the strongest relationships for both countries.”

Despite China’s muted response Saturday, concern about Trump’s policy toward China is growing, said Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing, one of China’s best-known international relations scholars.

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

The call with Trump could “convince people in Taiwan that the island can establish good relations with the U.S. and encourage (Tsai) to continue to resist pressure from Beijing,” Shi said.

In Beijing, a U.S. business group urged the new U.S. administration to respect the status quo.

“The new administration needs to get up to speed quickly on the historical tensions and complex dynamics of the region,” said James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

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  • Trump is doing what the American electorate chose him to do, to shake up the Establishment and to handle affairs in a different manner, doesn’t it make sense to receive a congratulatory call from a friendly nation? No if you are a PRC slave, who kowtows to everything Beijing tells them to do. There’s a new sheriff in town, America chose him, now the rest of the world has to get on the Trump Train too.

        • Pretty sure Trump supporters didn’t expect him to create international chaos because he wants to open a Trump Hotel in Taipei.

        • Rite80….PE Trump is showing O how it’s done.
          The sooner you get over the LOPSIDED LOSS the better you’ll be….most importantly you’d be able to stop eating CROW & HUMBLE PIE.

          Join the #TrumpTrain & witness the inauguration on January 20, 2017 #MAGA

    • Of course! When drumph does something sketchy, it’s always all right but if someone else did the same thing he and his fellow thugs would be all over him!

      • You’re right of course. The sad thing is that his pathetic followers haven’t figured it out yet. He’s renovating the swamp and installing gold fixtures – not draining it.

        • Klastri, You’re right of course. Crooked Hillary’s pathetic jock straps ball supporters haven’t figured out she lost in a massive defeat. He’s draining the swamp. Losing sucks doesn’t it.. Could not have happened to a nicer whatever you are. You, keaukaka, ikefromeli, Nanakuli boss, 1,000,000 ape and the rest of you losers should bow your heads in shame instead of spouting off garbage.

  • Screw the ChiComs. Our one China policy has always been dysfunctional. There is Communist China and there is Taiwan. To adopt this lunacy where we have recognized
    Communist China and not to recognize Taiwan was always ridiculous. I do hope Trump continues to acknowledge the true reality of the situation. Enough with kissing the
    ChiComs asses. Imagine we have a treaty agreement to defend Taiwan and yet we officially have no relationship with them. No wonder the ChiComs have no respect for us.
    It is always better to be feared and respected than to be liked. This is true whether we are talking about people or nations.

    • IRT fiveo: “No wonder the ChiCOms have no respect for us.” Your comment makes me think you meant to finish it with, “because we have no respect for ChiComs.”

      “It is always better to be feared and respected than to be liked.” Are fear and respect the same thing to you? Would you also come to the conclusion that it is better to be feared than respected?

      • Actually, between nations, it’s more than a little silly to think in terms of like or dislike, or respect and disrespect. There are, in the end, only common interests. That’s all that really matters and really all that shapes foreign policy.

  • that is trumpy’s problem he can’t apologize; he believes that everything he does is okay even if he screws up. this dude has no humility, he is just a donkey.

    • You mean, like, how Obummer is so apologetic about everything “American” that he made this country look WEAK in the entire international stage? No, now is a time to show strength in order to reclaim the respect that we’ve lost over the Obummer years, and apologies are not the answer.

      • IRT Jerry_D: Some say this is the problem of men, the only way is through strength and force, women on the other hand know compromise and cooperation. Fear is not respect, are you saying instill fear in these countries so they respect us again? I don’t know if I fully agree, just an interesting point of view. #MAGA

  • The Dems and the MSM are just jealous because this administration……didn’t think of it first! I see this as a sign of Diplomacy,it’s waaayy better,than what we had for 8 years:”It’s my way or the Highway”….or “I have phone and I have a Pen.”

    “Interesting how the US Sells Billions of dollars of military equipment,but I should not accept a congratulatory call”…..from Taiwan? DJT.

    AT some point there has to be some form of common ground the MS media has to take or else,we’ll keep seeing (Which has Begun) President Trump taking to Social Media(Youtube) for all his addresses, speeches etc. By simply speaking to the American people,without any media biased MSM.

  • An accomplished businessman running our country who is respected worldwide, even by our so called adversaries, is a breath of fresh air. And they’re giving him more respect than people here in our country.

    I find it hideous that the press questions his protocol when other leaders are the ones reaching out to him. “Oh no! He’s going to upset China!”…Turns out that China basically defended him.

    I find it amazing how other world leaders (Including Communists), have more hope for peace than they’ve ever had compared to so many of our own citizens who have these blinders on.

    • “…Chinese officials said they lodged a complaint with the U.S…”
      This confuses me as you say, “Turns out that China basically defended him.”
      Why would they file a complaint over something that they are basically defending? Is there another part of the article that you are referring to?

      I think the communist having more hope for peace than many Americans have part of your comment is interesting. I think the “small dogs” should want peace with the “big dog” as it would obviously benefit the “little dog” but the “big dog” should ask himself why is the “little dog” reaching out to me. Did these “little dogs” reach out to past Presidents or were they afraid of boundaries? WHY are the “little dogs” overstepping the boundaries with PE Trump?

  • Foreign leaders are playing Trump for a fool and he’s not even President yet. His calls with leaders of Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Scotland, Philippines, the U.K., and now Taiwan have revealed a disturbing level of ignorance — a prideful ignorance compounded by his refusal to be briefed by the State Department. “Taiwan CALLED ME” is a pathetic excuse. Does he really think that people will believe that the phone rang unexpectedly, that he answered it himself, and that he was surprised to find Taiwan’s President on the line? He’s like a child saying, “She made me do it,” and it’s a tacit admission that he feels that he was tricked into something that he doesn’t understand. This act of diplomatic sabotage has John Bolton’s fingerprints all over it; after all, he was at Trump Tower yesterday. It’s grossly inappropriate for a President-Elect to interfere with foreign relations.

    • “I’ve read hundreds of books about China over the decades. I know the Chinese. I’ve made a lot of money with the Chinese. I understand the Chinese mind.”
      ― Donald J. Trump, The Art of the Deal

      Fear not bsdetection, he is smarter than you think. Give it time.

    • All words and posturing aside, the U.S. would never tolerate a military invasion or blockade of Taiwan by the PRC. Bad as our reputation is overseas right now, it is nothing compared to the hit it would take should China fully “annex” Taiwan by force of arms. Only an apocalyptic attempt by the PRC to invade or destroy Japan would be met with greater U.S. resolve.

      By contrast, the ongoing provacations the Chinese are committing in the South China Sea are really small potatoes.

      • You are suggesting that our national interest would be to declare war on China if they blockaded or invaded Taiwan?

        Is that really what you meant to write?

      • “All words and posturing aside, the U.S. would never tolerate a military invasion or blockade of Taiwan by the PRC.” I tend to agree with you that it would be untenable given our long standing Far East policies. (I wonder how many people here on this forum or in Washington for that matter could actually locate Taiwan on a map”)( Oh yeah, K. our stated policy is Freedom of the Seas. I don’t necessarily believe we would fire missiles at the first provocation but I do believe that, based on my experience, we would enforce the rights of nation to freely sail the oceans.)

      • “All words and posturing aside, the U.S. would never tolerate a military invasion or blockade of Taiwan by the PRC.” I tend to agree with you that it would be untenable given our long standing Far East policies. (I wonder how many people here on this forum or in Washington for that matter could actually locate Taiwan on a map”)( Oh yeah, K. our stated policy is Freedom of the Seas. I don’t necessarily believe we would fire missiles at the first provocation but I do believe that, based on my experience, we would enforce the rights of nations to freely sail the oceans.)

        • Apologies, I tried to fix a missing “s” and it posted twice. I wish we could get an edit button. It is available on WP>

        • How would we enforce that, exactly? Most of the blockheads on here beating their chests about using military power don’t seem to understand what that means. You do.

          Everyone in the Obama administration can locate Taiwan on a map. The same will not be true for a Trump administration.

        • klastri,

          Ever hear of the “Crazy Man” approach to nuclear detente and why it held the peace insofar as the actual use of thermonuclear weapons after 1945? Of all the juveniles who visit this playpen, you of all people should appreciate it once your pal and ours, DJT, is in touching distance of the “nuclear football.”

    • Agreed. Trump doesn’t understand the nuances of international diplomacy. The problem is that he doesn’t seem interested in learning. His simplistic world-view could cause irreversible problems.

    • You’re right, sadly. As impossible as it sounds, Trump is even less competent in foreign policy than he seemed during the campaign.

      He won’t last four years. Trump is an ignoramus.

  • China’s muted response indicates they have more respect for Trump than Obama. They need to be challenged, on many fronts including trade, monetary policy and territorial claims rejected by the international community.
    It’s about time the US had a President set the Chinese right, Trump’s “America first” foreign policy is long over due and just what we need.

    • Compared to what, what was their response to Obama that you comparing their “muted” response to Trump? Did Obama also speak with Taiwan’s leader like Trump just did, is there a prior incident to compare this “China Response” that you are referring to?

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