Earlier this month, President-Elect Donald Trump called the leader of Taiwan on the telephone, sparking major outrage from China due to this call breaking years of diplomatic tradition.
Taiwan is considered part of China, and therefore has no diplomatic ties to the USA in respect to One China Policy. Because of this, no President or President-Elect has made any contact with the region since 1979, until early December 2016.
President-Elect Trump spoke by telephone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan early December, offering her congratulations for becoming President. Both leaders, according to Trump’s office, acknowledged the “close economical, political, and security ties” between the two Nations. Mr. Trump’s intentions with this phone call are unknown, and stated that the President had called him first.
These actions seem to have struck a nerve with China, as the nation began to cry out against this breaking of diplomatic policy. Mr. Wang Yi, the foreign minister of China, attempted to dispel any sort of fear or anxiety that this phone call had caused. Donald Trump’s phone call can be seen as offensive to China, as it breaks down any diplomatic respect between the two nations.
Donald Trump did not react well to this either, almost offended that China became upset with this phone call. He stated, “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” on his Twitter after seeing anger come from China. When interviewed by Fox News, Mr. Trump grew angry about the issue, stating “Why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?”
This call to President Tsai Ing-wen was not the only seemingly random call Mr. Trump has had, as he has also called the leaders of Britain, Pakistan, and India. These calls haven’t been approved by any officials or experts looking to help Donald, instead being at Mr. Trump’s leisure. His party and office have strongly urged him to consult such experts before calling anyone, though this is yet to be seen.
Aside from this debacle, Donald Trump has seemed to show no issue with angering China before the election, claiming that climate change (multiple times) was a “Chinese hoax.” He has openly stated that China’s changing of their own currency causes a trade deficit with the USA, and has threatened to place a 45% tax on any Chinese goods. With this in mind, it is unknown how well China is handling this, or how long they’re willing to deal with being antagonized by President-Elect Trump. According to Senator Christopher S. Murphy, “What has happened in the last 48 hours is not a shift. These are major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan. That’s how wars start.” It is only a matter of time to figure out whether or not the entire issue will cause hostility from China.