A diplomatic row is brewing after the United States President-elect Donald Trump, had a 10-minute phone conversation with the Taiwanese president, Tsai-Ing Wen. In a series of tweets, the US president-elect said that Mrs Tsai-Ing Wen had called him to deliver her congratulatory messages of the former’s election victory.
However, in a quick response, Beijing was categorical that the phone call was inconsequential. The Chinese foreign affairs minister, Wang Yi, said that the phone call was an attempt by the Taiwanese leadership to undermine the long-standing relations between China and the United States.
One China Policy
For almost four decades now, the relations between China and the United States have been based on the ‘One China policy.’ This is an approach agreed upon back in 1972 by the then US president, Richard Nixon and Mao Tse-Tung of China. Under the policy, the US government agreed to treat Beijing as the centre of power and Taiwan as a mere province of the mainland.
So far, all the subsequent US governments have sought to maintain the status quo by directly dealing with Beijing while only maintaining informal relations with Taiwan.
And in a show of the need to maintain this policy, the administration of President Obama was quick to state that it does not intend to change the way it engages with China. Through the special advisor to the president on national security matters, Mr Ned Price, the Obama administration assured the world that it remains fully committed to the One China policy.
Many people are likely to interpret Mr Price’s comments as a response to quell any possible disturbance in the relations between Beijing and Washington. On the one hand, Beijing is concerned that the new Trump administration may tear up the One China policy and attempt to engage with Taiwan directly. Such a move may have uncalculated implications on the balance of power between these two superpowers. For example, given that the Chinese are keen to retain their business connections with the United States, Beijing is set to fight furiously against anything that is contrary to this.
On the other hand, Taiwan is keen on taking advantage of what many consider will be fundamental changes in the US foreign policy under Trump, to score political points. It is based on this that the body that formulates policy on how Taiwan should engage with the Mainland China said that Beijing should not be worried about the recent developments.
But in a sudden twist of events, local newspapers in Taiwan have reported that the Trump Organisation is interested in investing billions of dollars in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. Reports indicate that special representatives of the Trump Organisation have been camping in Taipei, in a bid to craft deals. However, the Trump Organisation has categorically denied that it is interested in investing in Taiwan.