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Trumps talks to Taiwan, sets off firestorm

ABC News image of Trump's speech
ABC News image of Trump’s speech

NEW YORK – We’re not supposed to talk to Taiwan, the establishment says, but President-elect Donald J. Trump took a call from the leader of that small island – and set off a firestorm.

The Friday phone call from Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, could cause major issues with China, foreign policy analysts are saying. China claims Taiwan as its own as pat of its “One China” plan, even as the island that sits off China’s east coast wants its independence and to claim its own destiny. The matter has been a touchy subject for decades and reportedly, American leaders are not to communicate nor recognize Taiwan, as a standard foreign policy practice and show of respect to China.

taiwanHowever, Trump proudly proclaimed that he took the call, saying “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”

As a wave of scolding from the media and analysts ensued, Trump hit back, saying “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”

Soon thereafter, China put forth a formal complaint about the communication and the fallout is still unfolding. The New York Times reported that Wang Dong, an associate professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University, told them “This is a wake-up call for Beijing — we should buckle up for a pretty rocky six months or year in the China-U.S. relationship. There was a sort of delusion based on overly optimistic ideas about Trump. That should stop.”

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas commended Trump for taking the call.

“America’s policy toward Taiwan is governed by the Taiwan Relations Act, under which we maintain close ties with Taiwan and support its democratic system. I commend President-elect Trump for his conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen, which reaffirms our commitment to the only democracy on Chinese soil. I have met with President Tsai twice and I’m confident she expressed to the president-elect the same desire for closer relations with the United States.”

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