Trump: Why should U.S. be ‘bound’ by a ‘one China policy’?

by WorldTribune Staff, December 12, 2016

Unlike his predecessor, analysts say U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is signaling he won’t capitulate to China early in his presidency.

“I fully understand the ‘one China’ policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘one China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Dec. 11.

President-elect Donald Trump: 'I don't want China dictating to me.' /AP
President-elect Donald Trump: ‘I don’t want China dictating to me.’ /AP

Following Trump’s unprecedented phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the Obama administration said senior White House aides had spoken with Chinese officials to insist that Washington’s one China policy remained intact. The administration also warned that progress made in the U.S. relationship with China could be undermined by a “flaring up” of the Taiwan issue.

Mike Green, a former top adviser on Asia to former President George W. Bush, said there was “logic to serving Beijing notice that he will not be dictated to on issues like Taiwan.”

“President Obama was too accommodating to Beijing early on and it reduced his leverage as China asserted itself on issues like the East and South China Seas later,” Green said.

Former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton said he thought Washington was upset about Trump’s call to Tsai, in large part, because Trump did it without consulting the State Department. “This man thinks for himself,” Bolton said.

As for America’s one China policy, “it absolutely is not a violation of the one China policy,” insisted Bolton. “Moreover, as significant and beneficial as I think the call was, it doesn’t necessarily foretell what comes next. There’s no inevitability here. People ought to chill out a little bit, calm down and see what happens.”

In the Fox interview, Trump criticized China over its currency policies, its activities in the South China Sea and its stance toward North Korea. He said it was not up to Beijing to decide whether he should take a call from Taiwan’s leader.

“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put in to me,” Trump said. “It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?”

“I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it,” Trump added.