Trump tells Xi Jinping he will honour one-China policy

President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, soon after his election win, breaking with decades of diplomatic precedent and drawing a harsh rebuke from China's foreign ministry. During his confirmation hearing, Tillerson promised to uphold the One China policy and unlike Trump, does not think we should use Taiwan "as a bargaining chip in a broader negotiation with China on trade and other issues".

Xi said he greatly appreciated Trump's willingness to expand China-US cooperation and develop a constructive bilateral relationship that will benefit the two countries and the worldwide community.

The White House described the call as "lengthy" and "extremely cordial" and said Trump reaffirmed the policy at Xi's request.

Xi hailed Trump's assurance and said the policy forms the political bedrock for the China-US relationship.

"We're also working very much, and this has a lot to do with business, on health care, where we can get great health care for our country at a much reduced price both to the people receiving the health care", he said, adding that Obamacare was a total and complete disaster.

In his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump reportedly had to pause mid-conversation to ask his aides about the details of a nuclear treaty between the two countries, which Trump has again referred to as a "bad deal" for the U.S. As a result, Xi and Trump had not spoken since Trump's election in November, and China's silent treatment was getting awkward, The New York Times notes. "But it's still likely to be an abrasive relationship - there's still a very hard line on China, North Korea sanctions enforcement and the South China Sea", he said.

And relations between the two global powerhouses continued to come into question after Trump suggested to The Wall Street Journal in January, about a week before his inauguration, that the "one China" policy could be modified. But that all changed with the phone call last night strategically timed during the Chinese new year holiday.

The two leaders also extended invitations to meet in their respective countries.

Already Chinese social media users had noted Mr Trump had not personally issued a message for the Lunar New Year. The call was the first by a United States president-elect or president since Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.

China had been angered by earlier remarks by Mr. Trump, questioning Beijing's sovereignty over Taiwan under the one-China principle.

He reiterated that China and the US had maintained "close communication" since Trump took office and that cooperation was the "only correct choice".

  • Leroy Wright