China has ‘se­ri­ous’ wor­ries af­ter Trump Tai­wan pol­icy twist

Beijing: ‘One China’ is no bar­gain­ing chip

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY NOMAAN MER­CHANT

Pres­i­dent-elect sug­gests Beijing make con­ces­sions to re­tain U.S. pol­icy.

BEIJING | Still sting­ing from Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s com­ments rais­ing doubts about the U.S. com­mit­ment to its “One China” pol­icy, China said Mon­day that it had “se­ri­ous con­cern” about Tai­wan and warned that any changes to Amer­i­can deal­ings with the self-gov­ern­ing is­land could dam­age diplo­matic ties be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Beijing.

China made the com­ments a day af­ter Mr. Trump said in a television in­ter­view that he didn’t feel “bound by a One China pol­icy” and sug­gested that Beijing would have to of­fer con­ces­sions on trade and other is­sues to keep him from re-eval­u­at­ing the U.S. pol­icy to­ward Tai­wan.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry, said es­tab­lished pol­icy is the “po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion” of any diplo­matic re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and the U.S. and that any dam­age could ren­der co­op­er­a­tion “out of the ques­tion.”

“We urge the new U.S. leader and gov­ern­ment to fully un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness of the Tai­wan is­sue and to con­tinue to stick to the One China pol­icy,” Mr. Geng said.

Since rec­og­niz­ing the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1979, the U.S. has ad­hered to the One China pol­icy, rec­og­niz­ing Beijing as the cap­i­tal of China and main­tain­ing only un­of­fi­cial re­la­tions with Tai­wan. But show­ing the am­bi­gu­i­ties in Wash­ing­ton’s stance, Amer­i­can law also re­quires the U.S. to en­sure that Tai­wan has the means to de­fend it­self and to treat all threats to the is­land as mat­ters of se­ri­ous con­cern. Tai­wan thus has be­come a ma­jor arms cus­tomer and trad­ing part­ner for the U.S., de­spite its nonof­fi­cial sta­tus.

China split from Tai­wan amid civil war in 1949 and con­tin­ues to re­gard the is­land as a break­away prov­ince to be re­uni­fied with the main­land, by force if nec­es­sary.

The White House on Mon­day again de­fended cur­rent pol­icy and crit­i­cized Mr. Trump for what it said was us­ing Tai­wan as a bar­gain­ing chip to get Beijing’s co­op­er­a­tion on other is­sues.

Josh Earnest, the White House press sec­re­tary, re­jected Mr. Trump’s sug­ges­tion that Amer­i­can sup­port for Tai­wan was ne­go­tiable. “Tai­wan is not a source of lever­age,” Mr. Earnest said Mon­day. “It’s a close ally of the United States.”

Mr. Geng’s com­ments are the strong­est pub­lic con­dem­na­tion China has made of Mr. Trump’s ques­tion­ing of Amer­i­can pol­icy to­ward Tai­wan.

The Repub­li­can also reg­u­larly at­tacked China on the cam­paign trail for its trade and cur­rency poli­cies, which he said were tak­ing Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

Beijing was al­ready an­gered by Mr. Trump’s Dec. 2 phone call with Tai­wanese Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent or pres­i­den­t­elect has pub­licly spo­ken to a Tai­wanese leader in nearly four decades. China con­sid­ers any ref­er­ence to a sep­a­rate Tai­wanese head of state to be a grave in­sult.

Mr. Trump fol­lowed the call with two tweets ac­cus­ing China of ma­nip­u­lat­ing its cur­rency, un­fairly tax­ing Amer­i­can im­ports and pro­vok­ing ten­sions in the South China Sea.

Over the week­end, he told “Fox News Sun­day” that he wouldn’t feel “bound by a one-China pol­icy un­less we make a deal with China hav­ing to do with other things, in­clud­ing trade.”

Hours af­ter the in­ter­view aired, China’s Com­mu­nist Party-con­trolled Global Times pub­lished a harsh Chi­nese-lan­guage ed­i­to­rial head­lined: “Trump, please lis­ten clearly: ‘One China’ can­not be traded.”

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