China hits Trump as 'diplomatic rookie'

Omar Saddiqui Mateen

China continues to bully Taiwan and exclude Taiwan from global organizations. The phone conversation between Tsai and Trump came days after China backed new United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

Asked about the possibility of a Tsai stopover in the United States, China's Foreign Ministry said the "one China" principle, which states Taiwan is part of China, was commonly recognised by the global community.

Beijing officials responded to Mr Trump's stunt with restraint and measure.

China hasn't always been known for diplomatic restraint, particularly when it believes its "core interests" were violated. Both Beijing and Taipei in principle consider themselves the only legitimate power in charge of both China and Taiwan.

"I think there is a lot of much ado about nothing about this", he added.

As [Fallows says in his new cover story], we've followed more or less the same policy for 37 years, and Taiwan is as vulnerable as ever.

But numerous reports since have detailed the influence of China hawks and Taiwan proponents amongst his advisors who arranged the call. It referenced a tweet from Mr Trump railing against the country.

"I think it was prearranged and deliberate and Donald Trump knew what it was about", says Walter Lohman, Director of Asian Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

So what was it about? "The adherence to and commitment to this policy has advanced the ability of the United States to make progress in our relationship with China and of course has benefited the people of Taiwan", he said.

Countries that have formal diplomatic ties with Beijing can not enjoy such links with Taipei and vice versa.

The outgoing Obama administration appears to have differences with President-elect Donald Trump over the China policy, saying it has been in contact with the Chinese officials to reiterate its continued support to the long-standing one-China policy.

It's doubtful Beijing would see it that way.

But there has been extraordinarily fiery campaign rhetoric.

What did China get out of the new USA policy? The president-elect instead stumbled into a pre-inaugural foreign flap, insulting Beijing and causing it to lose face, without having a clear, well-articulated plan for what he seeks to accomplish.

Others have suggested that the president-elect wants to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip for a better economic deal.

Remember all the news media angst about that?

The president-elect was attacked by Chinese newspapers this week, just days after he created potential diplomatic controversy by calling Taiwan and criticizing China's government.

It is a fact that we have a nuclear North Korea.

But Mr Trump has also indicated he is not interested in projecting USA power away from home, saying America is sick of paying to defend allies such as Japan and South Korea - even suggesting they should develop their own nuclear weapons. "That likely means similar actions going forward". The consequences of abandoning Taiwan in comparable circumstances would be far more severe and wide ranging.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Liberty Times reported on Monday that Ms Tsai was planning to transit in NY early next month on her way to visit Central American allies Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. During his first term in office, the then Thai leader openly welcomed Hu Jintao in 2003 as the next leader of China and told him that his appointment as the country's president was more important than the head of the Communist Party.

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