On Dec. 2, Donald Trump accepted a congratulatory phone call from Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan.
The conversation between the two elected officials sparked protest both from Beijing and Western critics, who say that Trump’s actions endangered Sino-US relations. Others applauded the president-elect for standing up to communist China.
“I think it was a terrific message to them that we’re no longer going to be pushovers, and there’s going to be consequences for their hostile and aggressive actions,” said U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a 69-year-old Californian Republican, in an interview with Fox News on Dec. 5.
Rohrabacher, a supporter of Trump during the election, is a longtime critic of the Chinese regime and its human rights violations. Reports say Trump favors him to serve as Secretary of State.
“The change of this interaction model is unprecedented,” said Chou Mei-wu, deputy director of Taiwawn’s National Security Bureau. “I think we should regard this as a goodwill gesture from the U.S. side.”
Both Taiwan and the mainland are officially called China, but Taiwan has no UN membership. Beijing says that Taiwan is a part of China and applies pressure on other countries to accept its “one China policy.”
China has criticized Tsai’s call, and called for the U.S. to stand by established protocol.
“The China-U.S. economic and trade relationship has over many years always been a highly mutually beneficial one,” said Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It needs both sides to further make joint efforts based on adherence to important principles of the bilateral relations.”
Taiwan, also called the “Republic of China,” is a strong democracy and a U.S. ally that helped fight the Japanese in World War II. It is America’s ninth-biggest trading partner.
In response to accusations by the Chinese regime that he had quote “breached protocol,” Trump wrote a tweet taking China to task currency devaluation and its military deployments in international waters.
“Did China ask us if it was OK … to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”