China says it has “serious concern” about President-elect Donald Trump’s latest comments suggesting he is reconsidering America’s relationship with Taiwan.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said Monday that Trump’s comments in a weekend interview raised the possibility that U.S.-China relations would be “badly affected.” Geng said the “one China” policy was the “political foundation” of any Sino-American ties.
Since recognizing the People’s Republic of China in 1979, the U.S. has adhered to the one-China policy, recognizing Beijing as the capital of China and maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan. U.S. law, however, requires the U.S. to ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself and to treat all threats to the island as matters of serious concern.
China split from Taiwan amid civil war in 1949 and continues to regard the island as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland by force if necessary.
Geng’s comments are the strongest public condemnation China has made of Trump’s criticisms of current American policy toward Taiwan.
Beijing was already angered by Trump’s Dec. 2 phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect has publicly spoken to a Taiwanese leader in nearly four decades. China considers any reference to a separate Taiwanese head of state to be a grave insult.
Trump followed the call with two posts accusing China of manipulating its currency, unfairly taxing American imports and provoking tensions in the South China Sea.
On Sunday, he told Fox News that he wouldn’t feel “bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”
Trump said his call with Tsai was “very nice” and strictly meant to congratulate him on his winning the presidential election.
“Why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?” he said. “I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it.”
Hours after the interview aired, China’s Communist Party-controlled Global Times published a Chinese-language editorial headlined: “Trump, please listen clearly: ‘One China’ cannot be traded.”
“China needs to launch a resolute struggle with him,” the editorial said. “Only after he’s hit some obstacles and truly understands that China and the rest of the world are not to be bullied will he gain some perception.”
“Many people might be surprised at how the new U.S. leader is truly a ‘businessman’ through-and-through,” the paper said, referring to Trump’s suggestion of using the one-China policy as a bargaining chip. “But in the field of diplomacy, he is as ignorant as a child.”
The Global Times, which is published by the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, often runs commentaries that target nationalistic sentiment with provocative language.