China views Taiwan as a renegade province and, since 1979, the US has acknowledged Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China, with US-China relations governed by a set of protocols known as the ‘one China’ policy, CNN reports.
This means there are no formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan — so Trump’s decision to take Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s call could risk a major upset.
Trump’s transition team said Friday that the President-elect had spoken with Tsai, who passed along her congratulations.
“During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties (existing) between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year.”
The chat marks the first publicly reported call between a US President or President-elect and the leader of Taiwan since Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“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.”
Earlier Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi labeled the phone call “a shenanigan by the Taiwan side” when he was asked about it on the sidelines of a foreign policy seminar.
“The ‘one China’ policy is the cornerstone of a healthy China-U.S. relationship. I hope this political foundation won’t be disrupted or damaged,” he said.