WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump questioned whether the United States had to be bound by its longstanding position that Taiwan is part of “one China” and brushed aside Beijing’s concerns about his decision to accept a phone call from Taiwan’s president.
“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,” Trump said on an interview with Fox News Sunday.
The congratulatory call that Trump accepted from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was the first such contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China.”
Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive policy issues, and China generally lambastes any form of official contact by foreign governments with Taiwan’s leaders.
In the Fox interview, Trump criticized China over its policies on issues such as currency, the South China Sea and North Korea and said it was not up to Beijing to decide whether he should take a call from Taiwan’s leader.
“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put into me,” Trump said. “It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?”
“I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it,” Trump added. (Reporting By Caren Bohan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)