U.S. president-elect, in break with practice, speaks to Taiwan’s leader

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during an interview in Luque, Paraguay, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during an interview in Luque, Paraguay, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno

By David Brunnstrom and Emily Stephenson | WASHINGTON Fri Dec 2, 2016 | 7:57pm EST

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone on Friday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a transition team spokeswoman said, in a move likely to infuriate China and expected to complicate relations.

The call, confirmed by Trump transition spokeswoman Hope Hicks, was the first such contact with Taiwan by a president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a one-China policy in 1979.

The transition team later issued a statement saying that the two had noted that “close economic, political and security ties exist between Taiwan and the United States.”

An official of Taiwan’s representative office in Washington could not confirm the call but said it would be “historic” and the first contact between U.S. and Taiwanese leaders since diplomatic ties were severed in 1979 and Washington established official ties with Beijing.

The official said the Washington office was not involved in setting up the call. There was no immediate comment from China, which is likely to be angered because it views Taiwan as a renegade province.

A former diplomat who helped arrange the call and did not want to be identified said Chinese officials he spoke to beforehand said they were not troubled by Trump’s phone call because he was not yet president. Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

Tsai Ing-wen was one of four world leaders contacted by Trump on Friday, raising questions about whether he is effectively coordinating with the U.S. State Department before reaching out to leaders overseas.

Advisers to the Republican president-elect have indicated that he is likely to take a more robust policy toward China than Democratic President Barack Obama and that he plans to boost the U.S. military in part in response to China’s increasing power in Asia. However, details of his plans remain scant.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump was entitled to change policy, but his approach was potentially dangerous.

“Foreign policy consistency is a means, not an end. It’s not sacred. Thus, it’s Trump’s right to shift policy, alliances, strategy,” he said in an note on Twitter. However, he added:

“What has happened in the last 48 hours is not a shift. These are major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan. That’s how wars start.”

Winston Lord, former U.S. ambassador to China and former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said the strategic importance of Trump’s move was unclear.

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White House: no change to ‘one China’ policy after Trump call with Taiwan

“Like so many things with Trump, who knows? This man is ignorant about foreign policy and is flying by the seat of his pants, so it is difficult to assess the significance.

“Having said that, I have no problem with his talking to Madame Tsai; Taiwan is a good friend and although our relations are unofficial, I think it’s important to maintain close bonds with Taiwan.”

Douglas Paal, a former official of the U.S. National Security Council who served as U.S. representative to Taiwan from 2002-2006, said nothing Trump had said in the campaign suggested he wanted to rebuild the relationship with Taiwan relationship at the expense of the China relationship.

“From the information I have so far, this is a standalone item, but the Chinese will feel the need to make a major protest so there isn’t more of this.”

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Emily Stephenson, Valerie Volcovici, David Alexander, Yara Baroumy, John Walcott and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: Reuters “U.S. president-elect, in break with practice, speaks to Taiwan’s leader”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


7 Comments on “U.S. president-elect, in break with practice, speaks to Taiwan’s leader”

  1. simon says:

    Few month later, Trump administration would abolish Taiwan relation Act and urge Taiwan to reunited with Mainland china.

    Who has the last laugh!!!

    God works in mysterious way !!!




    Why did Trump spoke to Tsai on the phone? A most curious move indeed. The most obvious reason would be a typical white man’s insult at the orientals again – a poke in the eye for China by manipulating fools like ms Tsai. That helps to make Amerika great again?

    What kind of National Security Advisor is former Army general Flint? Steve Bannon, the Chief of Staff, White House? Kellyanne Conway? Or even Donald Trump himself?

    How much have they been brainwashed by the Hate Chinese campaign of Obama, George Bush, Hillary Clinton, and their massive propaganda machine ie the mainstream press, CIA and NGOs–paid writers and speakers?

    As far as can be seen, there is too much bigotry and racist sentiments around in Amerika. Witness the anti Chinese comments from that idiot Alex Jones, and even Dana Rohrabacher. Shocking.

    How much of an innate racist therefore is Trump and his team? How much of a “Whites” versus other coloured races mentaility? How much of an Empirist?

    If this move in undiplomatic in contacting Ms Tsai, against the “One China” policy, is to assuage Amerika’s “allies” in East Asia of Amerika’s commitment to its Eastern Empire, it looks like we are in more more tension, conflicts, fueds and bad bloods. Looks like we are in for the same old.

    Mr Trump must learn the world is NOT theirs to own as an empire. China and Russia WILL fight to rid Amerika of its control and threats here in the Far East. If he persist that “making America great again” requires maintaining Amerikan control over the East, he is in for a rude shock.

    There WILL be war and Japan WILL be put in its place. And Taiwan forcefully taken back into China’s fold if Ms Tsai still does not understand her position, her peoples’ interest, and the power equation here.

    Change in Amerika? Not from how the East looks at it. And it seems to have started already. Prove us wrong, Mr Donald “drain the swamp” Trump.


  3. Simon says:

    Its time Xi accept a phone call from Kim Jong Un and congratulate him for becomming leader of North Korea. Xi can go further and invite Hillary Clinton for a visit giving her some kind of recognition over the roge president elect Trump whose legitmacy is already being challenged in his own country.

    I bet Trump will be sending his grand daughter to China to mend ties.


  4. simon says:

    Hillary supporter are trying to portray Trump as inept and impotent when it comes to foreign policy.

    Western media , particularly, CNN- Clinton news network are making speculation or hypothetical scenario against Trump – milking on these incident even when China has not react to it.

    Foreign minister, Wang Yi had make a comment on this issue. He blame Taiwan leader.

    China did not feel offended because Trump is not a President yet.

    Good Answer!!!


  5. Fre Okin says:

    For a hefty fee Trump will talk to anybody. Taiwanese should investigate how much Tsai paid Team Trump through the backdoor donation to get this phone call. Basically just a cheap publicity stunt. Trump will Never speak to her again after Jan 20th. Tsai who?


  6. Simon says:

    This is the same Donald Trump who heaped praises on Pakistan in a recent phone call to its leader but is trying to stop them entering his country.
    Any country who picks a fight with China ends up having its leader impeached or isolated. I heard Trump may not see out his presidency and liked be impeached at some point. Already his supporters are unhappy about him revearsing back on his election promises and he will firther disappoint. America cant be great again. They are a decling power and rotting from the core fast like a cancer. There is no cure!


  7. Steve says:

    Does it mean that ultimately Trump override President Obama’s authority. This is typical of US hegemonic mentality. China should never trust US administration. Although the US has two political parties, ultimately the hegemonic policies do not change, Compared to China’s one party rule, the policies are always changing for better governance, economic reforms, military, infrastructures, non hegemonic policies and so forth. I believe the US and alliances are calculating the benefits of war by its hegemonic containment policies against China. The ASB (air sea battle) is still highly relevant with a chain of over 30 military US bases surrounding China as a result of war.