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Angry Beijing criticises Trump’s One China remarks

Beijing is “seriously concerned” by US president-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion that he could drop the One China policy unless the mainland makes concessions on trade and other issues.

world Updated: Dec 12, 2016 21:24 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
File photo of US president-elect Donald Trump speaking during a
File photo of US president-elect Donald Trump speaking during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinnati. An official Chinese newspaper called Trump "as ignorant as a child" on Monday after he suggested he was reconsidering how America deals with Taiwan.(AP Photo)

President-elect Donald Trump’s questioning of the US’s “One China” policy drew sharp criticism from Beijing on Monday, with the foreign ministry urging Washington to be cautious about dismantling what is considered the “political bedrock” of bilateral ties.

During a television interview, Trump questioned why Washington should be bound by the One China policy – which means the US has regarded Taiwan as part of China for several decades – if it doesn’t get better trade deals with the Communist country.

“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.

His comments expectedly drew criticism from the Chinese government, with foreign ministry Geng Shuang telling reporters during a regular news briefing that ties with the US and “the sound and steady growth of China-US relations” would be “out of the question” were Trump to turn away from the “One China” policy.

“We urge the incoming US administration and its leaders to fully recognise the sensitivity of the Taiwan question…(and) to properly deal with Taiwan-related matters in a prudent manner so as not to disrupt or damage the overall interests of the bilateral relationship,” Geng said, describing the One China principle as the “political bedrock” of ties.

The nationalistic Global Times tabloid began the criticism earlier in the day in a comment piece that was headlined: “Trump, please listen clearly, the One China policy cannot be traded”.

The Times warned Trump that China cannot “be easily bullied” and questioned: “If Trump abandons the One China principle, why should China need to be US’ partner in most international affairs?”

Most people would think Trump is “ignorant like a child” in handling diplomacy, the paper added.

“As a businessman, he thinks it’s quite normal to do business, but he hasn’t realised that the Taiwan question is not a business to China. The Taiwan question is not negotiable,” Foreign Affairs University professor Li Haidong was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, the foreign ministry lodged a complaint with the US following a phone conversation between Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported Beijing had asked Washington to “cautiously, properly handle the Taiwan issue to avoid unnecessary disturbance to Sino-US relations”.

China considers Taiwan its own territory and most countries, including the US, diplomatically acknowledge the island as part of “one China”.