Note: This article delves into recent international news regarding the United States President-elect Trump’s denouncement of China’s ‘One-China’ policy, further increasing tension between the world’s two largest economies.
In a little over a week, President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office to become the United States’ 45th President. Although the President-elect has yet to take office, he has been making international headlines since his electoral election in November 2016. First, President-elect Trump was declaring a possible trade war with the world’s second largest economy, China.
During his campaign, the President-elect had accused China of manipulating the value of its currency and he also called for much steeper tariffs on products imported into the United States from China. Now, the President-elect has further targeted China with denouncing China’s ‘One-China’ policy concerning the often-disputed territory of Taiwan.
China’s ‘One-China’ policy is the diplomatic acknowledgment of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. What this means is that Taiwan is not recognized as a country, but rather a territory or a breakaway province of China. Although Taiwan’s government claims it is an independent country, officially called the “Republic of China,” any country that wants diplomatic relations with Mainland China must break official ties with Taipei, the capital and government headquarters of Taiwan.
The idea of ‘One-China’ first come into fruition in 1949, following the end of the Chinese civil war, with the United States recognizing this policy since 1979 under U.S. President Jimmy Carter. For nearly forty years, the United States and China have had stable political ties; however, with the new President set to take office shortly, and his remarks concerning this policy, the future political relationship between these two countries is uncertain.
The dispute between the President-elect Trump and the Chinese government came about way back in November 2016 when President-elect Trump accepted a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen following the Presidential election in the United States. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry lodged a diplomatic complaint with the United States regarding this telephone call with President Tsai, which it claimed broke nearly four decades of United States foreign policy.
President-elect Trump further began to upset the Chinese government when he began to question its ‘One-China’ policy stating. “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.” The President-elect further stated that he would not hesitate to anger China until the country comes to the bargaining table on trade and severs ties with North Korea. Many view this as President- elect Trump’s way of holding this long-held policy hostage to future deals with China. These comments triggered numerous furious responses from China’s state-run newspaper, Global Times.
A day following these remarks, the famous Global Times retorted by stating that the President-elect was as “ignorant as a child in terms of foreign policy” and warned that if President-elect Trump ditched the ‘One China’ policy, it would spark “a real crisis.”
Additionally, China’s Foreign Ministry spoke out concerning the matter stating that it was “seriously concerned” by the President-elect’s remarks and that bilateral cooperation would be out of the question if the ‘One China’ recognition was “compromised or disrupted” by the United States.
More recently, President Tsai met with senior United States Republican lawmakers in Houston, Texas during her stopover this past Sunday en route to central America. During her stop over, President Tsai metwith Texas Governor Greg Abbott, spoke with U.S. Senator John McCain over the telephone, and me with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
This past week, Ted Cruz has been spilling details to U.S. media about his meeting with President Tsai. The Texas Senator stated that he and President Tsai discussed upgrading bilateral relations and furthering economic cooperation between the two countries, including increased access to Taiwan markets, which would explicitly benefit Texas ranchers, farmers, and small businesses within the state.
China explicitly asked representatives in Washington, D.C. not to allow President Tsai to enter the United States and that she not have any formal government meetings under the ‘One-China’ policy. The Chinese consulate went as far as to send letters to Congress members asking them not to meet President Tsai during her stopovers in the Untied States.
On Monday, January 9, 2017, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang urged “relevant U.S. officials” to handle the Taiwan issue appropriately as to avoid harming China-U.S. ties. Also speaking out on the matter is the Chinese state-run newspaper, whose stance does not equate with government policy, the Global Times.
A day following this meeting, the Global Times warned the President-elect that China would “take revenge” if he reneged on the ‘One-China’ policy. The newspaper continued to threatened the President-elect by stating that “if Trump reneges on the ‘One-China’ policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.”
With a little over a week until President-elect Trump’s inauguration, many eyes are focused on what the then 45th President of the United States will do regarding China and the United States continued recognition of the ‘One-China’ policy. Depending on what the new U.S. President will do, the world could see a possible shift in international relations that will not only affect the United States and China, but the world as a whole.