President-elect Donald Trump's call with the leader of Taiwan sparked a firestorm among diplomats because it broke with decades of U.S. policy that considers Taiwan part of China.
Trump initially brushed off the significance of the call, saying Tsai Ing-wen had called him. However, The Washington Post reports the call had been planned for months.
This contradicts Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who said in an ABC interview on Sunday that it was a brief congratulatory call.
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
Trump has echoed similar sentiments.
Why this matters
Taiwan split from the Chinese mainland in 1949. The U.S. policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan's status as unsettled. China, meanwhile, considers Taiwan a rogue province. Any recognition of a Taiwanese head of state is unacceptable to China, so Trump's reference to the "President of Taiwan" was probably not what China wanted to hear.
But this also coincides with Trump's generally harsh view of China.
Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
Trump went on a Twitter rant on Sunday, accusing China of devaluing its currency.
their country (the U.S. doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
However, the yuan has not been listed as under-valued since 2015, Quartz reports.
With his reckless Taiwan phone call, Trump has wantonly placed America's interests ahead of China's.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) December 3, 2016
But Trump supporters thought his call was the right move.
The New York Times reports a Trump Organization representative called in September to discuss potential investments in a pricey makeover of the city of Taoyuan, raising further questions of potential conflicts of interest.
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