Trump about one China policy: US doesn’t have to be bound: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of “one China“. This way, the position of Trump about one china policy is questioning nearly four decades of policy in a move likely to antagonize Beijing.
Trump’s comments on “Fox News Sunday” came after he prompted a diplomatic protest from China over his decision to accept a telephone call from Taiwan’s president on Dec. 2.
“I fully understand the “one China” principle, but 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,” Trump told Fox.
“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put in to me,” Trump said. “It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?”
“I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it,” Trump added.
WHAT IS THE “ONE CHINA” POLICY
The “One China” policy refers to the policy or view that there is only one state called “China“, despite the existence of two governments that claim to be “China“. As a policy, this means that countries seeking diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China) must break official relations with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa. The One-China principle faces opposition from supporters of the Taiwan independence movement, which pushes to establish the “Republic of Taiwan” and cultivate a separate identity apart from China called “Taiwanization“.
Recent ROC President Ma Ying-jeou has re-asserted claims on mainland China as late as October 8, 2008. In the case of the United States, the One-China Policy was first stated in the Shanghai Communiqué of 1972: “the United States acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.
The United States does not challenge that position.” The United States has not expressed an explicitly immutable statement regarding whether it believes Taiwan is independent or not. Instead, Washington simply states that they understand the PRC’s claims on Taiwan as its own. In fact, many scholars agree that U.S. “One China” principle was not intended to please the PRC government, but as a way for Washington to conduct international relations in the region, which Beijing fails to state.
When President Jimmy Carter in 1979 broke off relations with the ROC in order to establish relations with the PRC, Congress responded by passing the Taiwan Relations Act that maintained relations, but stopped short of full recognition of the ROC. In 1982 President Ronald Reagan also saw that the Six Assurances were adopted, the fifth being that the United States would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. Still, United States policy has remained ambiguous.
In the House International Relations Committee on April 21, 2004, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, James A. Kelly, was asked by Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) whether America’s commitment to Taiwan’s democracy conflicted with the so-called One-China Policy. He admitted the difficulty of defining the U.S.’s position: “I didn’t really define it, and I’m not sure I very easily could define it.” He added, “I can tell you what it is not.
It is not the “One China” principle that Beijing suggests.”
Obama has supported the “One-China” policy. The position of the United States, as clarified in the China/Taiwan: Evolution of the “One China” Policy report of the Congressional Research Service (date: July 9, 2007). The document has remained unchanged in a 2013 report of the Congressional Research Service.
On December 2, 2016 US President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen conducted a short phone call regarding “the close economic, political and security ties between Taiwan and the US”. On December 6, a few days after the call, Trump about one china policy said that the U.S. is not necessarily bound by this policy.
THE POSITION OF TRUMP ABOUT ONE CHINA POLICY
In questioning the “One China” policy that’s governed U.S.-China relations for nearly four decades, President-elect Donald Trump seems to believe he’s wielding powerful leverage to persuade leaders in Beijing to give the U.S. a better deal on trade. In fact, he’s setting himself up to fail — and ignoring the more effective tools at his disposal.
Chinese President Xi Jinping won’t be offering any trade-offs in response to Trump’s bluster. No Chinese leader — especially not Xi, who has staked his reputation on restoring China’s greatness and avenging a “century of humiliation” at the hands of Western powers, and who faces a critical leadership transition next year — can afford to be seen negotiating over Taiwan’s status. China has limited room to retaliate economically against the U.S., so Xi is likely to respond strategically — by undermining the sanctions regime against North Korea, say, or by ramping up the militarization of islands in the South China Sea. At a minimum, Xi might stage military exercises near Taiwan to test U.S. resolve.
Trump’s threats might be more credible if there were any indication he or his team had thought through these possibilities. The only way the incoming administration will get China to change its behavior on trade, increase access to its market, and pare back its territorial expansion and support for North Korea is by raising the costs of its current behavior and offering realistic alternatives.
In short, the position of Trump about one china policy is of criticism, in particular he blamed China for militarizing the South China Sea, taxing U.S. imports and devaluing its currency — even though the Chinese Renminbi has appreciated rapidly for the last 10 years. “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” he wrote on Twitter.
BEIJING’S REACTION TO THE REMARKS OF TRUMP ABOUT ONE CHINA POLICY
China’s official reaction has so far been restrained, but teeth are being firmly gritted in Beijing. Like the rest of the world, Xi Jinping’s government has not yet decided whether the thought of Trump about one china policy is being deliberately confrontational or is simply out of his depth. Beijing initially blamed the Taiwanese for “tricking” Trump into talking to President Tsai Ing-wen
–The first acknowledged contact at this level for nearly 40 years. But it has emerged that Tsai kept quiet about the call, expecting it to remain private (as has been usual in the past). It was Trump who bragged about it in public, embarrassing the Chinese.
During the election campaign Trump criticised China’s trade practices as unfair and, like the Obama administration, objected to island-building in disputed areas of the South China Sea deemed illegal by a UN court ruling. But he has also, at times, adopted a more conciliatory, realpolitik stance.
Puzzling over this Jekyll and Hyde act, China is hoping Trump the pragmatic deal-maker will eclipse Trump the hostile rabble-rouser. “For us, for China, we do not comment on his personality. We focus on his policies, especially his policies toward China,” Lu Kang, foreign ministry spokesman, said on Monday. China wanted a “sound and stable relationship [that] accords with the joint interests of both peoples”.
Despite his emollient words, Lu reminded the Trump camp that China regarded Taiwan, whose defence and de factory independence from China is effectively underwritten by Washington, as the most important and sensitive bilateral issue with the US. Beijing describes reunification with its “breakaway province” as a core interest. Xi has warned that the current status quo cannot continue indefinitely.
Xi is already ill-disposed to the Tsai government and has suspended talks and other exchanges. Tsai’s domestic critics say Taiwan could pay a high price for Trump’s blundering. They point to an editorial in the Global Times, a Chinese government mouthpiece, headlined “Talk to Trump, punish Tsai administration”.
Trump’s Taiwan trial balloon has put the wind up the entire region, where tensions linked to China’s growing economic dominance, military buildup and territorial ambitions are ever-present. Several Asian allies contacted Obama’s White House at the weekend to ask what was going on. But Obama is probably as much in the dark as everybody else.
In response to an offer by John Kerry, the secretary of state, to educate Trump about one china policy and on other delicate international issues such as Taiwan, Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide, noted memorably that the president-elect was “not a talking points kind of guy”.