China’s foreign ministry says it has lodged a “stern” diplomatic complaint with the US after President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone to the president of Taiwan. This is the first official contact between US and Taiwanese officials for 37 years.
Jimmy Carter’s “one China” policy in 1979 cut formal ties with Taiwan, a self-governing island seen by China as a breakaway province. The policy states that Taiwan is part of China’s sovereign territory and not an independent nation. The US has not recognised any Taiwanese leader as a head of state ever since.
Trump took to twitter to make the announcement, “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”
In another tweet, Trump commented on the US providing Taiwan with weaponry, “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,”
Mr Trump’s transition team said in a statement that he and Tsai Ing-wen noted that “close economic, political and security ties exist between Taiwan and the United States,”
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi downplayed the importance of the phone call, saying that it was “just a small trick by Taiwan” and that it would not interfere with the diplomatic relations between China and the USA.
The White House responded to the call by saying that “longstanding policy” on China and Taiwan has not changed.