Trump to China – We Promise To Abide by ‘one China’ policy.
U.S. President Donald Trump has made an unexpected commitment to the longstanding ‘one China’ policy.
President Trump who in the recent past appears to be in support of the breakaway Taiwan community and has been a frequent critique of the Chinese government surprised many in the United states when he put a call across to the Chinese President Xi Jinping last night in their first telephone conversation since assuming office as the President of the United States.
Trump angered Beijing in December by talking to the president of self-ruled Taiwan and saying the United States did not have to stick to the policy. Under the longstanding policy, Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.
A White House statement said Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a lengthy phone conversation on Thursday night, Washington time.
“President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy,” the statement said.
The two leaders had not spoken by telephone since Trump took office on Jan. 20.
Diplomatic sources in Beijing say China had been nervous about Xi being left humiliated in the event a call with Trump went wrong and the details were leaked to the media.
Last week, U.S. ties with staunch ally Australia became strained after the Washington Post published details about an acrimonious phone call between Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
No issue is more sensitive to Beijing than Taiwan. China and the United States also signaled that with the “one China” issue resolved, they could have more normal relations.
“Representatives of the United States and China will engage in discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest,” the statement said.
In a separate statement read out on Chinese state television, Xi said China appreciated Trump’s upholding of the “one China” policy.
“I believe that the United States and China are cooperative partners, and through joint efforts we can push bilateral relations to a historic new high,” the statement cited Xi as saying.
“The development of China and the United States absolutely can complement each other and advance together. Both sides absolutely can become very good cooperative partners,” Xi said.
Lawyer James Zimmerman, the former head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said Trump should have never raised the “one China” policy in the first place.
“There is certainly a way of negotiating with the Chinese, but threats concerning fundamental, core interests are counterproductive from the get-go,” he said in an email.
“The end result is that Trump just confirmed to the world that he is a paper tiger, a ‘zhilaohu’ – someone that seems threatening but is wholly ineffectual and unable to stomach a challenge.”
The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, but is also Taiwan’s biggest ally and arms supplier and is bound by legislation to provide the means to help the island defend itself.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communist forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.