Trump Makes a U-Turn on ‘One China' Policy in Cordial Call With Xi
U.S. President Donald Trump has promised to uphold the "One China" policy in his first courtesy call with President Xi Jinping since taking office last month. This marks a complete u-turn from Trump's previous stance that the "One China" policy is up for negotiation.
According to a statement issued by the White House on late Thursday evening, both leaders discussed a wide range of issues during the phone call. Their discussion was described as "extremely cordial." The statement did not shed light on what Trump exactly said regarding the "One China" policy, but maintained that the U.S. leader assured China of his complete support on the issue.
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In response, Beijing immediately issued a statement appreciating Trump's acknowledgment of the "One China" policy.
President Xi was quoted saying that China would "work with the United States to enhance communication and cooperation so that bilateral ties can advance in a sound and stable manner and yield more fruits to benefit the two peoples and people of all countries in the world," according to the state-owned English tabloid The Global Times.
Trump's courtesy phone call to Xi comes at a critical time when Sino-U.S. relationship is being plagued by a lack of basic trust and good will. The low ebb in the bilateral relationship was very much expected after Trump unexpectedly won the U.S. presidential elections last year.
During his campaign, the Republican leader blamed China's manipulative trade practices for America's economic woes. Trump promised his supporters to undo all these practices if he is elected as president.
But his unexpected overtures to Taiwan and subsequently challenging American government's commitment to "One China" policy surprised Beijing even more.
China's unpleasant reaction was also expected, considering that no other U.S. government was so openly dismissive about the "One China" policy or made direct contact with any Taiwanese leader.
The "One China" policy (or the 1992 consensus) entails that China and Taiwan are one nation. This directly challenges Taipei's claim to be a "separate, sovereign nation." The principle forms the bedrock of Beijing's foreign relation with almost all countries, including the United States.
Taiwan spilt from mainland China in 1949, when the nationalist forces fled across the Taiwan Strait after communist forces emerged triumphant in a prolonged civil war. Since then, Taiwan has become a self-ruled island, but the Chinese government regards it as a renegade province, to be reclaimed by force if necessary.