France Tells Trump To Cool It With The Tough Talk On China

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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France’s foreign minister warned President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday against pressuring China on its sensitive territorial issues.

Trump infuriated China by breaking with decades of diplomatic practice and accepting a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, as well as casting doubt over America’s future commitment to the “one China” policy.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault criticized Trump’s lack of respect for China and decision to question the “one China” policy during a television interview Wednesday.

“China is a big country. We can have our differences with China, but you don’t talk to a partner like that,” Ayrault told France 2 Television.

Trump asserts that China has been unfairly taking advantage of the U.S. and has not been a partner.

“We’re being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don’t tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn’t be doing, and frankly with not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump told Fox News Sunday.

“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 explained, questioning the purpose of the policy if China refuses to “play by the rules.”

The president elect’s comments indicate that Trump will not respect China’s “core interests” if China fails to respect U.S. interests.

“When China feels questioned on its unity, that’s not exactly very clever,” Ayrault remarked.

China says Taiwan is a “non-negotiable interest.”

“Let’s try to make this issue crystal clear for the coming new administration of the United States: any deviation from the one-China policy will be a ‘deal-breaker,'” China’s Xinhua News Agency argued Tuesday.

“And just to make things even more clear, let’s reiterate the policy. 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,” the report added.

“We need to avoid things spiraling out of control,” the French foreign minister commented, “I hope that the new team will have learnt enough so that we manage an uncertain world with more sang-froid and responsibility.”

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