In an interview broadcast Sunday on Fox News, Trump said the United States was not bound by the “One China” policy, the decades-old diplomatic understanding that underpins ties between Washington and Beijing.
“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” he said.
The comment elicited a swift response from the Communist Party-controlled press, with the Global Times, a newspaper known for its strident nationalism, writing that Trump is “as ignorant as a child.”
The editorial said Trump ought to read some books on U.S.-China relations. It also warned that if the U.S. abandoned the “One China” policy, Beijing would have no reason to “put peace above using force to take back Taiwan.”
“China needs to launch a resolute struggle with him,” the editorial said. “Only after he’s hit some obstacles and truly understands that China and the rest of the world are not to be bullied will he gain some perception.”
“Many people might be surprised at how the new U.S. leader is truly a ‘businessman’ through-and-through,” the paper said. “But in the field of diplomacy, he is as ignorant as a child.”
The sharply-worded Global Times piece does not consitute an official government response to Trump’s comment, but provides an early sign of what’s sure to be a furious response from Beijing.
Since winning the U.S. presidential race, Trump’s public comments and tweets have put the future of U.S-China relations in question.
When Trump took a call from Tsai Ing-Wen on Dec. 2, he broke with decades of diplomatic practice — indeed, it was first such call since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.
The move was hailed by many in Taiwan, but was roundly rejected by China, which launched an official complaint in Washington.
Trump’s comment linking American Taiwan policy to a possible trade deal with China is likely to anger both Taipei and Beijing.
Taiwan, a thriving democracy with close ties to the United States, does not want to be treated as a bargaining chip. China, meanwhile, considers Taiwan’s status a “core” national interest and is nowhere near ready to talk about a deal.
Su Hao, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said the apparent bargaining was a “careless and irresponsible” act that could “shake the foundation of the bilateral relationship.”
The question of Taiwan, he said, is not open for negotiation. “International politics is not business. Not everything is on the table for trade.”
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