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China: ‘One-China' Policy and Taiwan Not Negotiable

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FILE - This combination of two photos shows U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaking during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinatti, Dec. 1, 2016, and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, delivering a speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Ta
FILE - This combination of two photos shows U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaking during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinatti, Dec. 1, 2016, and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, delivering a speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Ta

China has criticized United States President-elect Donald Trump for suggesting that the “one-China” policy is negotiable.

Trump’s comments came in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday. In future talks with China, he told the newspaper, he believes that “everything is under negotiation, including 'one-China.’”

Under the “one-China” policy, China considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of Chinese territory. Most nations, including the U.S., have diplomatic relations only with the mainland. Chinese Nationalists fled to Taiwan and set up a government on the island after losing to communist forces in 1949 ending China’s civil war.

The United States accepted the “one-China” policy when it established diplomatic ties with China in 1979.

The Chinese government does not have diplomatic relations with countries that have official ties with Taiwan. The United States still has strong unofficial relations with Taiwan, which has a democratic government.

China’s Foreign Ministry reacted sharply to Trump’s comments on Monday. A ministry spokeswoman told reporters any attempt by the U.S. to reconsider the “one-China” policy would be self-defeating.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying speaks to reporters during a regular briefing in Beijing, China on Monday, January 16, 2017. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying speaks to reporters during a regular briefing in Beijing, China on Monday, January 16, 2017. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

“Not everything in the world can be bargained or traded off,” the spokeswoman said.

She warned against any nation trying to use the policy to gain a better position in negotiations with China. The spokeswoman said this could harm the “one-China” policy. Such a move would also face “strong opposition” from the Chinese government, people and international community, she added.

Reaction to Trump’s comments also came in official media. The China Daily newspaper said any attempt to bargain over the issue of Taiwan would result in “a period of fierce, damaging interactions.”

If Trump used the “one-China” policy as part of a negotiating plan, “Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves,” the China Daily wrote.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump through a speaker phone in Taipei, Taiwan. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump through a speaker phone in Taipei, Taiwan. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

Trump’s comments on the policy took place weeks after his acceptance of a telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2. It was the first time a U.S. president or president-elect has publicly spoken to a leader of Taiwan since America’s acceptance of the “one-China” policy in 1979.

China watchers considered the call a sign of possible closer ties between Taiwan and Trump’s administration.

On Sunday, Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming chief of staff, said there were “no plans” to change the “one-China” policy. But he also said: “Certainly that policy is on the table if China doesn't also come to the table and work with us on trade, work with us on the South China Sea and what's happening there.'

Preibus made the comments on the ABC news program This Week.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn adapted this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News, the Associated Press and Reuters. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

bargain – v. discuss an agreement or price in an attempt to make it more appealing

fierce – adj. very strong or intense

take off the gloves – idiom to no longer hold back or restrain in a fight or dispute, but to pursue any means possible to win

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