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Trump questions U.S. need to be bound by 'one China' policy

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Trump questioned why U.S. should stick to 'one China' policy

President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday" at Trump Tower in New York, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

President-elect Donald Trump is interviewed by Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday" at Trump Tower in New York, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

In yet another stunning break with historic precedent, President-elect Donald Trump said that the U.S. does not necessarily need to be bound by the 'one China' policy, in an interview on the Fox News show "Fox News Sunday."

When asked if he could confirm media reports that his aides had been planning the call with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen for weeks in advance, Trump said, "It's all wrong, not weeks, I took a call, I heard the call was coming probably an hour or two before."

He then indicated he understood that his direct phone conversation had implications for the United States' long-running stance on there being "one China" by saying "I fully understand the 'one China' policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy. This statement will undoubtedly draw a strong response from Beijing, given the People's Republic of China's (PRC) vehement stance on the 'one China' policy in the past, its standing threat to invade Taiwan were it to declare independence, and the intense pressure its has placed on all diplomatic and trading partners to tow the 'one China' line.

However he added a caveat, "unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade." This statement adds fuel to the theory by some that Taiwan will be used as a bargaining chip to gain trade concessions from China.

Trump then elaborated on what items would be on the negotiating table, with trade being one of the key bones of contention, "I mean look, we're being hurt very badly by China, with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders, when we don't tax them." When on the campaign trail, Trump had pledged to impose a 45 percent tariff and instruct the Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator.

While Trump had given the South China Sea issue short shrift during his campaign for the White House, for the second time since winning the presidential election, he indicated displeasure at China's "building of a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn't be doing." In a previous pair of tweets sent on December 4th, a couple days after his call with Tsai, he fired the first shots at China's trade practices and military activities in the South China Sea:

He then moved onto the subject of North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and that China was "not helping us at all with North Korea. You have North Korea, you have nuclear weapons, and China could solve that problem, and they're not helping us at all."

Lastly, he reiterated that he felt he had every right to take the call from President Tsai Ing-wen saying, "I don't want China dictating to me and this was a call put into me, I didn't make the call, and it was a call, a very short call saying 'Congratulations sir on the victory!' 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 have been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it."

Updated : 2021-06-19 20:35 GMT+08:00