Obama Side-Steps Trump, Promises To Keep Giving China What It Wants

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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President-elect Donald Trump is attempting to put pressure on China, but the White House is undermining his efforts.

Trump spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a historic phone conversation Friday. The president-elect broke with decades of protocol and diplomatic practice to become the first U.S. leader to speak with a Taiwanese leader since diplomatic relations were severed in 1979.

The call was reportedly planned and intended to send a message to China, which protested and called the exchange a “petty action.”

Following the call, which the Chinese said was a Taiwanese “trick,” the White House rushed in to reaffirm America’s willingness to adhere to the “one China” policy.

“There is no change to our long-standing policy on cross-Strait issues,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price, according to CNN. “We remain firmly committed to our ‘one China’ policy based on the three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act.”

“Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations,” he added.

The White House position is consistent with the demands of China’s foreign ministry.

“It must be stated that, there is only one China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government that represents China,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang explained Saturday. “Those are all facts recognized by the international community.”

Trump defended his right to accept the call late Friday.

After receiving further criticism for his actions, Trump again defended the call Sunday.

The White House is reassuring China that it will uphold the policies which have been in place for the past four decades, according to an announcement Monday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest restated “our country’s continued commitment to a one-China policy.” He argued that the “one China” policy is intended to maintain peace between China and Taiwan, stressing that the policy is in America’s best interests, according to Reuters.

The Department of State also reaffirmed this position during Monday’s daily press briefing.

The Obama administration has, on numerous occasions, demonstrated an unwillingness to take actions which might anger or upset China.

Trump’s actions and rhetoric indicate that he will embrace an alternative foreign policy.

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