Beijing (dpa) – China on Monday expressed “serious concern” following US president-elect Donald Trump’s remarks that the US does not have to be bound by its long-standing policy of reserving formal diplomatic ties for Beijing.
Known as the “One-China” policy, it means that China’s ruling Communist Party requires other nations to avoid formal diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, although the US maintains many informal channels.
“China expresses serious concern regarding … [how] the ‘One-China’ policy is an important foundation and the basis of the China-US relationship,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.
“If this basis and foundation is destroyed, then a healthy and stable relationship between China and the US is out of the question,” he said.
“China urges the new administration to fully understand the importance of the Taiwan issue and carefully and steadily handle this problem,” Geng added.
China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan to be a renegade province to be “reunified” with the mainland.
While many people in Taiwan’s would prefer formal independence from China, most support the status quo.
The island has had a separate government since Chinese Nationalists fled there in 1949 after losing a civil War to the Communists.
On Sunday, Trump said in an interview with US broadcaster Fox News that he understood the US policy of recognizing just one China and not dealing separately with states like Taiwan.
“But 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,” he said.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen refused to comment Monday on Trump’s remarks questioning the long-standing policy.
“We have no comment on the matter,” Taiwan presidential spokesman Alex Huang said. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also declined to give a comment.
The opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, or KMT), meanwhile, called for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and for a continuing of a “no surprise” approach implemented by the KMT government in the US-China-Taiwan relationship.
“This is the best way to form the basis to benefit the people of all involved parties,” said Eric Huang, Director of the KMT’s International Affairs Department.
In response to the interview, a Chinese foreign policy expert earlier described Trump as diplomatically “immature” on Monday, in the state-run Global Times.
“We need to point out to him how serious the problem is and exert pressure on him,” Li Haidong, professor at the China Foreign Affairs University said.
“Perhaps he doesn’t think very deeply about diplomatic issues … We should make him understand the importance and complexity of Sino-US ties and prevent him from being manipulated by some conservative forces,” Li said.
On December 2, Tsai telephoned with Trump, despite the fact that the US and Taiwan governments broke off diplomatic relations in 1979.
In the interview with Fox News, Trump said he didn’t want China “dictating” to him, reiterating that the call with Tsai was very short and was just to congratulate him.
“Why should some other nation be able to say, I can’t take a call? I think it would have been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it,” he said.
Trump also complained that China is hurting the United States with devaluation, taxing US imports “when we don’t tax them” and by building “a massive fortress” in the South China Sea.
He added that China is “not helping us at all” in solving the problem with North Korea, “and China could solve that problem.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week that he did not believe Trump’s phone call with Tsai would change the US government’s One-China policy.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory. The island has been self-ruled since KMT forces took it over after losing the mainland during the civil war in 1949.
By Joanna Chiu, Gretel Johnson, and Yu-tzu Chiu in Taipei