Fuss Over Conversation Between Trump and Taiwan President
by Stephen Lendman
On January 1, 1979, Jimmy Carter formally recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC), severing formal ties with Taiwan. An American Institute in Taiwan represents US interests in the country.
Last December, the Obama administration announced the sale of $1.83 billion worth of arms to Taiwan - including two warships and anti-tank missiles, despite Beijing’s objections.
At the time, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang called Taiwan “an inalienable part of China’s territory. To safeguard our national interests, China has decided to take necessary measures, including imposing sanctions against companies involved in the arms sale.”
In response to the fuss over Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaking briefly, the president-elect tweeted “(t)he President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”
“Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”
According to Trump’s transition team, both leaders spoke briefly for around 10 minutes. “During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year,” a statement said.
Their exchange was the first official one between Washington and Taipei since 1979, a one-China policy in place since then.
According to Beijing’s Xinhua press agency, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang lodged “solemn representations” with Washington, saying:
“(T)here is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government that represents China. Those are all facts recognized by the international community.”
“We urge relevant US side to honor the commitment to the one-China policy as well as the three Sino-US joint communiques, and cautiously and properly handle Taiwan-related issues to avoid any unnecessary disturbance to the bigger picture of the Sino-US relations.”
Foreign Minister Wang Yi called Tsai’s call to Trump “a little trick,” adding “I don’t think it will change the one-China policy of the US government either.”
White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said “(w)e remain firmly committed to our one-China policy based on the three joint communiques. Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-strait relations.”
Why all the fuss over a leader of one country speaking with a counterpart or anyone else, especially a brief exchange, each congratulating the other on electoral victories.
Borrowing a phrase from Jefferson, in the course of human events, the geopolitical significance of Tsai calling Trump was inconsequential.
Selling arms in another matter entirely. Beijing considers their sale to Taiwan a hostile act, “a serious violation of international law…as well as China’s territory and security.”
Consistent with its bashing Trump since announcing his candidacy last year, The NYT called his taking a phone call from Tsai “a bigger provocation.” What nonsense!
Post-election last month, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke, the president-elect’s transition team saying:
“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and president-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.”
A brief phone call between Trump and Tsai changed nothing in Sino/US relations. A far greater issue is Washington’s provocative East Asia military footprint, including in the South China Sea, meddling in a part of the world not its own, risking direct confrontation.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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