Published: Tue, December 06, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Taiwan's diplomatic situation stable after Trump-Tsai call

But the phone call initiated by the president Tsai Ing-Wen and the fact that it has been accepted by the President-elect, which has not happened since 1979, provoked China's anger.

China was a frequent target of Trump's during his presidential campaign and every sign points to his taking an aggressive line.

China and the Washington foreign policy establishment thought they could tell President-elect Donald Trump whom he can and cannot speak with on the phone.

China, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have been fighting over their claim on the resource-rich territory of the South China Sea for years. He said Monday that China didn't comment on a politician's style or personality and only cared about their policies.

It was the second Trump action within two days that irked Beijing.

However, this Washington Post article contends that the call was "planned weeks ahead by staffers and Taiwan specialists on both sides".

"I would much rather have Donald Trump talking to President Tsai than to Cuba's Raul Castro or Iran's Hasan Rouhani", Texas Senator Ted Cruz - Trump's main challenger and a fierce critic during this year's Republican primary race - tweeted on Saturday. The incoming president responded with a Twitter broadside accusing China of currency manipulation and militarising the South China Sea.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang issued a statement saying: "There is only one China in the world".

Trump's policy decisions will come after he takes office on January 20, Pence said.

So far, Beijing has kept criticism of Trump to a minimum and China's response to the call has been less harsh than many had predicted. I think everybody should just calm down. Yet the phone conversation prompted mixed reactions.

Addressing the criticism around the phone call, he later wrote: "Interesting how the USA sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call".

Moreover, given the views Trump has expressed about China, it makes sense that he would signal a possible shift in America's approach to China.

Four names have been in circulation for weeks: former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, former United States ambassador to the UN John Bolton, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and retired army general and ex-CIA chief David Petraeus. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the contact was "just a small trick by Taiwan" that he believed would not change USA policy toward China, according to Hong Kong's Phoenix TV.

According to a a report Monday in The Washington Post, the call reflected "months of quiet preparations" among advisers about "a new strategy for engagement with Taiwan", with which the U.S. severed diplomatic relations in 1979 in favor of a more robust relationship with China.

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