Breitbart News reports that President-Elect Donald Trump spoke on the phone with Taiwan President Tsai Ingwen yesterday, and that they discussed the close economic, political, and security ties between the two countries.
The news of the call did not sit well with China. With a population of close to 1.4 billion people, China has the largest population on the planet, and the largest economy as well. Trump’s call with Taiwan was clearly irksome, prompting China to lodge a formal complaint through diplomatic channels with the U.S., CNN Reports.
It is possible that the call with Taiwan at this time may not affect U.S.-China relations, as Trump has not officially taken office yet. USAToday reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is blaming the misstep on Taiwan, describing the exchange between Trump and Ing-wen as a “small trick” by Taiwan that would not affect U.S. policy towards China.
Trump may be benefitting from certain allowances being given for having no political experience or any real understanding of foreign policy, but by prompting a formal complaint from the largest economic power on the planet, one can hope that early incidents like this teach him to reign in his impetuous behavior when he officially takes office on January 20.
Taiwan is a democratically controlled island nation that was acquired by China from Japan after World War II. Taiwan severed ties from mainland China after a civil war between Communists and Nationalists in China saw the losing Nationalists flee to Taiwan, and subsequently cut off the island from China and the ruling Communist party.
Following President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, the U.S. cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, closing its Taiwan embassy in 1979 after President Jimmy Carter formally recognized Beijing as the sole government of China. The U.S. has since maintained informal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but has officially recognized the “one China” principle that considers Taiwan to be an independently governed island part of greater China on the mainland.
Today China regards Taiwan as a renegade province that will one day be brought back into the fold.