With President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with his Taiwanese counterpart earlier this month still looming large over US-China relations, Trump has more directly addressed the issue, saying that he doesn’t see the US as necessarily bound by its long-standing “One China” policy.
It wasn’t just a suggestion that the “One China” policy is obsolete, but rather Trump made it clear this would be used as leverage as he seeks to negotiate better terms in a number of deals, particularly trade, saying China has to be willing to enter into a new bargain.
Trump sought to downplay the Taiwan call, insisting that China has no business forbidding him to take calls from another leader and that it would’ve been rude not to take the call. Of course, Trump aides have suggested the call wasn’t random, but rather the result of months of pre-planning.
For generations the US has only recognized one China or the other, with Jimmy Carter formally cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, when China aligned itself with the US against the Soviet Union. Since then, the US has officially had no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but has operated a private embassy service on the island through a non-profit.