Published: Mon, December 05, 2016
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Trump's talk with Taiwanese president 'just a phone call'


In favor of its relationship with China, the U.S. government does not maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan because of a decades-long dispute between the island and China over governance of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. Since then, there have been no direct conversations between the leaders of the U.S. and Taiwan.

Since 2009, the Obama administration has approved $US14 billion ($19 billion) in arms sales to Taiwan, according to AP.

"They will hope that this is a misstep, but I think privately, they will definitely seek to educate this incoming president and ensure that he understands the sensitivity of Taiwan", she said. President-elect Donald Trump congratulated the Taiwan leader for her Presidential win that occurred earlier in the year, which marked a historical event in Taiwan.

For its part, China also publicly downplayed the call, yet appeared to deliver a warning to Trump about making overtures to Taiwan.

The statement said the visit was too brief for both sides to get into details.

"The one China principle is the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship", it said. On the one hand, there is a possibility of heightened tensions and confrontation if the United States perceives China as doing things that are threatening and vice versa.

Taiwan is considered a sensitive issue between the USA and China, which were each other's biggest trading partners a year ago, exchanging goods and services worth $627 billion.

CHANG: Could you just give us an example in the past of maybe a louder reaction from the Chinese government when it came to Taiwan?

While ties between Beijing and Taipei have improved over the decades, China continues to have some 1,200 missiles aimed across the Taiwan Strait and has asserted the right to invade to block any formal split.

The media was quick to judge Donald Trump when he ran for President, again when he was elected as President, and now when he is acting as President.

Trumps move to talk with Tsai Ing-wenz had infuriated China.

The call, which Mr Trump insisted had been initiated by Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen, was a sign of nothing but his and his transition team's inexperience in dealing with foreign affairs, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported.

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"There is no conflict" in that, he said.

Zhou Qinfen, a retiree from China's eastern Jiangsu province visiting Beijing on Sunday, echoed several other Chinese interviewed who said they consider Taiwan to be an inextricable part of China.

"I think I would just say to our counterparts in China that this was a moment of courtesy", Pence said.

It attributed the call to her administration's "tricks", noting that Trump "is not familiar with foreign relations".

An Exxon spokesman declined comment.

Yang Chih-kai, a 22-year-old university student in New Taipei City, said the call raised Taiwanese hopes for a stronger relationship with the United States, saying: "People will think that the USA will keep on helping Taiwan protect itself against China's threat".

The US severed ties with the self-governing island in 1979, but has maintained close unofficial relations and a commitment to support its defence.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz didn't see anything wrong, with AFP quoting him as saying: "I would much rather have Donald Trump talking to President Tsai than to Cuba's Raul Castro or Iran's Hasan Rouhani. We share values, they have a big economy, we trade, they have a civil society that is large and robust and mature, and we ought to be giving them a little more space".

He slammed those criticising Trump for this.

An Obama administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the White House wasn't notified about the call in advance.

Dr Graham said Australia was well-placed as an ally and would likely be under less pressure than some countries such as South Korea and Japan - though Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wanted to make Japan's position more muscular anyway.

Information for this article was contributed by Ting Shi, Jennifer Jacobs, Nick Wadhams, John McCluskey, Keith Zhai, Debra Mao, Jun Luo and Chris Strohm of Bloomberg News; by Gillian Wong, Johnson Lai, Jim Gomez, Jonathan Lemire, Matthew Pennington, Nomaan Merchant, Henry Hou, Darlene Superville and staff members of The Associated Press; and by Jane Perlez of The New York Times.

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