Millennium Post

Compromise on one-China policy will strain ties: China to Trump

China on Monday warned US President-elect Donald Trump that bilateral ties will be damaged if he “compromised” with ‘one-China policy’ by giving weightage to Taiwan, the strongest public condemnation by Beijing against his criticism of America’s long-standing policy towards the self-governing island.

“Adherence to one-China principle is the political bedrock of the China-US relations. If it is compromised or disrupted, the sound and steady growth of China-US relationship as well as bilateral cooperation in major field would be out of question,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang told a media briefing here while reacting to Trump s comments.

“Chinese side has noted the relevant report and seriously concerned about that,” Geng said.

China’s comments came a day after Trump in a television interview questioned the relevance of continuing the ‘One-China’ policy if Beijing refuses to make any concessions on trade.

The US since 1979 has respected China’s stance on Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province. But Trump said without concessions from China, he did not see why it should continue.

Replying to a spate of questions over Trump’s comments, the first such by US leader on Taiwan in recent years, Geng said, “I want to stress that Taiwan question has a bearing on China s sovereignty and territorial integrity and it is related to China s core interests.” 

But despite stern reaction with strong words, China has not lodged any diplomatic protest unlike few days back when Trump riled Beijing by holding telephone talk with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, which was an unprecedented move as no US leader has done it so far.

Geng said China wants that the new US administration and its leadership fully recognise the sensitivity of the Taiwan question, stick to one-china policy as well as principles established by the three joint communiques between China and US and properly deal with the Taiwan related questions in a prudent manner so as not to disrupt or damage over all interests of the bilateral relationship.

The Chinese protest reportedly infuriated Trump further as on Sunday night he came out with even sterner comments hinting that he may alter US’ decades old adherence to One-China policy by having low key back channel relationship with Taiwan.

He also said China was not cooperating with the US on its handling of its currency, on North Korea, or on tensions in the South China Sea.

About his phone call with Tsai, Trump said it was not up to Beijing to decide whether he should take a call from Taiwan’s leader.

“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put into me. 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,” he had said. 

Significantly the US President-elect’s provocative comments came after China’s State Councillor and top diplomat Yang Jiechi for the first time met Michael Flynn, who is Trump’s nominee for the post of National Security Adviser.

Acknowledging the meeting in New York, Geng said the two sides exchanged views on mutual concern and bilateral ties.

While Trump’s phone call with Tsai surprised China, his comments came as a shock here raising concerns over how relations between the top two world economies will pan out in the Trump administration as China too is flexing muscles under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, regarded as the most powerful Chinese leader after Mao Zedong.

A commentary by state-run Xinhua news agency said the ‘One-China’ policy is part of the consensus that Chinese government and successive US administrations have honoured over past decades.

“No country is willing to bargain over core national interests, and China is no exception. China views the One China principle as a bottom line and there is no room for any compromise,” it said.

The commentary said that China can be a principal partner in cooperation with the new US administration, provided it respects China’s “core interests”. 
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