President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan prompted China to file a complaint with the U.S.
Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec. 2 for 10 minutes, Reuters reports. A president or president-elect has not taken a call with Taiwan’s leadership since Jimmy Carter in 1979.
The U.S. has recognized Taiwan as part of China since 1979 with the “one China” policy, which states that the country acknowledges Beijing’s claim that Taiwan belongs to China, according to CNN. Therefore, formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Taiwan do not exist.
By taking Tsai’s call, Trump broke protocol.
“We have noticed relevant reports and lodged solemn representation with the relevant side in the United States,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Dec. 3.
“I must point out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of the Chinese territory…” he said. “…The ‘one China’ principle is the political foundation of China-US relations. We urge the relevant side in the U.S. to adhere to the ‘one China’ policy, abide by the pledges in the three joint China-U.S. communiques, and handle issues related to Taiwan carefully and properly to avoid causing unnecessary interference to the overall China-U.S. relationship.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blames Taiwan for the phone call occurring.
“This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the ‘one China’ structure already formed by the international community,” he said according to Reuters, adding that the call should not change the “one China” policy of the U.S. government.
Trump took to Twitter on Dec. 2 to explain how the call came about: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”
Taiwan had a slightly different story.
“Of course both sides agreed ahead of time before making contact,” Alex Huang, a spokesman for the Taiwanese president, said, according to Reuters.
During the call, Trump and Tsai reportedly discussed the “close economic, political and security ties” that exist between the two countries and the possibility of strengthening bilateral interactions and establishing closer cooperation.
Tsai said the call was an “intimate and relaxed conversation” in a published statement on an official website.
Sources: Reuters, CNN, Donald Trump/Twitter / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr