Trump speaks directly with Taiwan's leader, irking China

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday night published a statement about the 10-minute phone call, in which the two shared views on policies.

The Taiwanese presidential office issued a statement early Saturday saying Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of US relations with Taiwan.

Glaser, the Asia expert at CSIS, said that the President-elect's call would worry China, but won't necessarily convince Beijing that it was impossible to have a functioning relationship with the Trump administration.

There exists rampant concern that Trump's call with Taiwan will enrage China, and fracture relations between the nations.

Washington cut formal diplomatic relations with the island in 1979 and recognises Beijing as the sole government of China - while keeping friendly non-official ties with Taipei.

Winston Lord, who was U.S. ambassador to China from 1985-89 and is a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said the strategic importance of Trump's Taiwan call was unclear.

"At this point Xi Jinping has indicated that he wants a good relationship with the USA under President Trump", he said.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on CNN that Trump was "well aware of what USA policy has been" in Taiwan.

"He either will disclose or not disclose the full contents of that conversation but he's well aware of what USA policy has been", Conway said.

China's state-run CCTV issued a statement that said Trump made an "unprecedented break" with the One China Policy, according to media reports.

China protested to the shipment which it said "violated" global laws and good faith.

"They will remind the U.S. that obligations are to have an unofficial relationship with Taiwan", Glaser continued.

Trump tweeted later that Tsai "CALLED ME". "China relation", and hopes it won't be interfered with or damaged after the call.

Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing said Saturday that China will respond discreetly and with restraint because it wants stable relations with the USA, but that officials are increasingly anxious.

The call was the first such contact with Taiwan by a United States president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a one-China policy in 1979. "What I'm concerned about is that rather than acknowledge a mistake, they will double down on it".

"I believe that it won't change the longstanding "one China" policy of the United States government".

"I reaffirmed my strong commitment to our one-China policy based on the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act".

In Beijing, a US business group said it expected the new USA administration to respect the status quo.

"We remain firmly committed to our "One China" policy", she added. "That's how wars start".

But he said it isn't "technically" a breach of the unofficial status of Washington-Taipei relations because Trump isn't yet in the White House.

"Like so many things with Trump, who knows?"

It was not immediately clear which side initiated the telephone call, one of several Trump has been making with world leaders since his election victory, or if it signals a policy shift.

The US closed its embassy in Taiwan - a democratically-ruled island which China considers a breakaway province - in the late 1970s following the historic rapprochement between Beijing and Washington that stemmed from Richard Nixon's 1972 trip to China.



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