China has dismissed Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan as “just a small trick” from Taipei.
The U.S. president-elect risked a diplomatic row with Beijing by holding a phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen – a major departure from decades of U.S. policy in Asia.
Beijing firmly views Taiwan as part of a single Chinese nation and the U.S. and Taiwan have not had formal relations since 1979.
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said he hoped Beijing’s relations with the U.S. would not be “interfered with or damaged” after the call.
In first comments apparently to downplay the significance of the call, Mr Wang said the contact between Taiwan’s president and Mr Trump was “just a small trick by Taiwan” that he believed would not change U.S. policy toward China, according to Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV.
“The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged,” Mr Wang was quoted as saying.
It is thought that no U.S. president or president-elect has spoken with a leader of Taiwan for 37 years, after the US implemented a “One China” policy.
Hours after an unnamed Trump transition team official confirmed the conversation, the president-elect said on Twitter that Ms Tsai had called him.
“The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” Mr Trump wrote.
An hour later, he again took to Twitter to respond to the reaction the call had generated. “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”
The Trump transition team official said: “During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political and security ties exist between Taiwan and the United States.
President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year.”