Trump’s call with Taiwan leader creates media storm

Trump, who was unapologetic about the call from the Taiwanese president, received both criticism and praise for breaking protocol.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump stirred controversy on Friday by accepting a call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to congratulate him on his election victory.

“The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” Trump said on Twitter.

“Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” he wrote in another tweet, regarding the media storm resulting from his taking the call.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lodged a brief complaint Saturday, stating that the call from the Taiwanese leader was “just a small trick by Taiwan.”

“The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged,” he stated.

“It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China,” Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

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Taiwan’s leaders insist that the island is a sovereign state.

The U.S. has maintained unofficial ties with Taiwan since 1949 and has been required by law to supply the island with defense weapons. Since 2009, the Obama administration has approved $14 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.

The “intimate and relaxed” discussion lasted about 10 minutes, Ing-wen said.

The Taiwanese presidential office said Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of U.S. relations with Taiwan. “The (Taiwanese) president is looking forward to strengthening bilateral interactions and contacts as well as setting up closer cooperative relations,” the statement said.

“Tsai also told Trump that she hoped the U.S. would support Taiwan in its participation in international affairs, the office said, in an apparent reference to China’s efforts to isolate Taiwan from global institutions such as the United Nations,” AP reported.

There was no indication of an imminent policy change in Washington.

Media was filled with condemnation by media analysts and politicians suggesting that Trump lacks understanding of the ramifications of the conversation. Delaware Senator Chris Coons, for instance, said that Trump’s “shoot-from-the-hip style” is concerning.

Others disagreed.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, for example, said he “commend[s] President-elect Trump for his conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen, which reaffirms our commitment to the only democracy on Chinese soil.”

Referring to President Barack Obama’s promotion of dialogue with the Iranian leaders and his meeting in Havana with late President Fidel Castro last spring – it was the first visit by a U.S. president to Cuba since 1928 – Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that he “would much rather have Donald Trump talking to President Tsai than to Cuba’s Raul Castro or Iran’s Hasan Rouhani. This is an improvement.”

By: World Israel News Staff