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Trump-Taiwan call breaks US policy stance

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US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken directly with the president of Taiwan – breaking with US policy set in 1979, when formal relations were cut.
Mr Trump’s transition team said he and Tsai Ing-wen noted “close economic, political, and security ties” between the US and Taiwan in a phone call.
The move risks angering China, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reportedly dismissed the call as a “petty trick” by Taiwan.
What happened?
Mr Trump tweeted on Friday that Ms Tsai had called him to congratulate him on winning the US election.
His team said that the US president-elect had also congratulated Ms Tsai on becoming the president of Taiwan last January.
It is highly unusual for a US president or president-elect to speak to a Taiwanese leader directly.
Following media reports pointing out the risks of angering China, Mr Trump tweeted : “Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”
The White House has said Mr Trump’s conversation did not signal any change in US policy.
Mr Trump’s spokeswoman said he was “well aware” of what US policy has been on Taiwan.
Why the concern?
Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, expressing its support for Beijing’s “One China” concept, which states that Taiwan is part of China.
China has hundreds of missiles pointing towards Taiwan, and has threatened to use force if it seeks independence.
President Tsai, Taiwan’s first female leader, led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a landslide victory in January’s poll.
The DPP has traditionally leaned towards independence from China and President Tsai’s administration does not accept One China policy.

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Published on December 3, 2016.

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