Much has been made about Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Tsai Ying-wen. the current president of Taiwan, and the reaction it will garner from the Chinese government. The call breaks the longstanding “One China” policy, where the US acknowledges Beijing’s claims over Taiwan and has no formal diplomatic ties to Taiwan’s government. The details behind the call itself have been hinted at and the Trump transition team have acknowledged the call in an official statement, but no formal comment had been made by China at the time.
That has changed by Saturday morning, with China making a formal complaint to the United States over the call and claiming that President-Elect Trump fell for Taiwan’s “tricks” by taking the phone call. According to CNN, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the complaint and reiterated the country’s “One China” policy:
“We have noticed relevant reports and lodged solemn representation with the relevant side in the United States,” said a statement Saturday from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
“I must point out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of the Chinese territory … The ‘one China’ principle is the political foundation of China-US relations.
“We urge the relevant side in the US to adhere to the ‘one China’ policy, abide by the pledges in the three joint China-US communiques, and handle issues related to Taiwan carefully and properly to avoid causing unnecessary interference to the overall China-U.S. relationship.”
Trump was quick to address the incident on Twitter, noting that the Taiwanese president reached out to him and not the other way around. The president-elect was also quick to bring up the sale of fighter jets to Taiwan, which is a head scratcher coming from a president-elect
All of this is being called “a shenanigan by the Taiwan side” by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi according to CNN, with many differences in translation along the way. According to Quartz, Yi’s comments were broadcast during an interview:
This is only a little trick put up by Taiwan, and it’s impossible to change the ‘One China’ pattern that has formed in the international community. I don’t think the US government will change the ‘One China’ policy it has insisted for years, which is the cornerstone of the healthy development of the Sino-US relations. We don’t want any interference or destruction of this political foundation.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper spoke with Trump campaign manager and senior adviser to the president-elect Kellyanne Conway about the call, calling it “uncharted waters” for a candidate while asking if Trump was aware of the “One China” policy. Her answer, seen below, falls in line with the team’s official statement but doesn’t shed much light on why this would’ve happened to begin with. Even if Trump isn’t aware of the policy, someone within his team had to have been aware.