China has ‘serious’ worries after Trump Taiwan policy twist
Beijing: ‘One China’ is no bargaining chip
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.”