Saturday 24 June 2017

One China policy 'non-negotiable', Beijing warns Trump over Taiwan

China's foreign ministry has rejected Donald Trump's suggestion that he might use support of Taiwan as a bargaining chip in future negotiations (AP/Evan Vucci)
China's foreign ministry has rejected Donald Trump's suggestion that he might use support of Taiwan as a bargaining chip in future negotiations (AP/Evan Vucci)

China's foreign ministry has again rejected US president-elect Donald Trump's suggestion that he might use American policy on Taiwan as a bargaining chip between the two sides.

Spokesman Lu Kang said the "one China" policy was "non-negotiable".

Since recognising Beijing in 1979, Washington has maintained only unofficial ties with Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing considers its territory - a status quo that Mr Trump has repeatedly threatened to upend since winning the November election.

"The government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China," Mr Lu said in a statement.

"That is the fact acknowledged by the international community and no one can change."

Mr Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Friday that "everything is under negotiation, including 'one China'."

The interview is the latest indication Mr Trump will shake up the US-China relationship, particularly on Taiwan, which China considers a core national interest.

China was already angered by Mr Trump's December 2 phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect has publicly spoken to Taiwan's leader in nearly 40 years.

Beijing considers any reference to a separate Taiwanese head of state to be a grave insult.

Mr Trump then said in a television interview that he did not feel "bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade".

After attacking China repeatedly during his campaign, Mr Trump has continued to disparage China on his Twitter account.

He has attacked Beijing over its military build-up in disputed areas of the South China Sea, allegedly manipulating its currency to put American companies at a disadvantage, and not doing enough to curb North Korea's nuclear programme.

He has also announced that a new White House trade council will be led by economist Peter Navarro, a sharp critic of Chinese economic policy who wrote a book called Death By China.

Mr Trump told the Journal that he would not label China a currency manipulator as soon as he took office, though he repeated his contention that China was manipulating the yuan.

So far, Beijing has reiterated its refusal to negotiate on Taiwan and to push for positive co-operation between the two sides, though state-run media have run several strongly worded editorials attacking Mr Trump.

Chinese political observers said on Sunday they expected Beijing's response to change once Mr Trump was inaugurated on January 20.

"Trump has not taken office yet, so he is an ordinary person now," said Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at Fudan University.

"Therefore, there's no need for China to take his remarks seriously or further respond to what he said."

Tang Yonghong, a professor at Xiamen University, said China needed to convince Mr Trump that "if he wants to make money from the Chinese mainland, he must be a friend of China instead of being an enemy".

"I think Trump is handling international relations, including Sino-US relations, with a businessman's logic," he said.

"He wants to see how China will respond to such provocation."

AP

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