In a move deemed “inexperienced”, “reckless”, and “bold”, President-elect Donald Trump today became the first commander-in-chief to speak to the Taiwanese president directly since 1979.
The U.S. engages in talks with the island-nation as, according to Trump’s transition team, “close economic, political and security ties exist between Taiwan and the United States.”
However, the action shocked the world due to the United States’ diplomatic decision to consider Taiwan a part of China under the “One China” policy.
China and Taiwan Relations- A Tense History
China has long been outspoken about being unopposed to using force in order to “reclaim” Taiwan territory, and the current political atmosphere between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen remains tense.
After the 10 minute phone-call between the president-elect and Tsai, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, put the blame on Taiwan for “engaging in petty action”.
Trump’s Historic Call
Trump indicated in a Twitter post that Tsai had initiated the phone call: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” he wrote.
A spokesman for Tsai, however, told Reuters, “Of course both sides agreed ahead of time before making contact.”
The White House administration was not notified before the call, but released a statement clarifying that nothing had changed regarding the “longstanding policy”.
Ned Price, a national security spokesperson for current President Barack Obama, stated:
“We remain firmly committed to our ‘one China’ policy.
“Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations.”
Political analysts’ and politicians’ opinions were split after hearing of the historic phone call.
One senator, Chris Murphy (Dem) said that although Trump is entitled to changing policies and alliances, his method could ultimately be dangerous, saying, “That’s how wars start.”
Others believe Trump’s actions were entirely legitimate, as there is no law or policy preventing him from taking the call.
It is important to note that although this is true, China is a growing superpower with a population of over 1.3 billion, compared to Taiwan’s 23 million.
Provoking a nation that holds a fifth of the world’s population, especially when meddling with international relations, seems like a bad move for an inexperienced president who has yet to be inaugurated.