China warns Trump ignoring one-China policy could hurt peace


BEIJING: Any change in US policy favouring formal recognition of Taiwan will “seriously” damage peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and undermine relations between Beijing and Washington, a Chinese government spokesman said on Wednesday.

The comments from the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office follow President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks over the weekend that he didn’t feel “bound by a one-China policy” unless the US could gain benefits from China in trade and other areas.

Under the one-China policy, the US recognises Beijing as China’s government and maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan, a former Japanese colony which broke from the Chinese mainland amid civil in 1949.

Spokesman An Fengshan said breaching the one-China principle “will seriously affect peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” “The one-China policy is an important political foundation for relations between China and the US,” An told reporters. “If such a foundation is disturbed or undermined, there can be no talk of a healthy and stable development of US-China relations.”

Trump broke diplomatic precedent by talking on the phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec 2, during which the island’s leader congratulated Trump on his election victory. Then, this past weekend, Trump said he might use America’s recognition of Beijing as leverage for gaining advantages in trade and other areas.

That is placing him perilously close to touching on China’s bottom line that brooks no formal recognition of Taiwan or challenge to its claim to sovereignty over the island. China’s response has thus far been fairly muted, mainly blaming Tsai for placing the call.

The last major crisis over Taiwan came in 1995, when China staged threatening war games and missile tests near the island in response to then-president Lee Teng-hui’s visit to the US, which was seen by Beijing as a bid to solidify the island’s de-facto independent status. The move was largely seen as backfiring, with Lee winning the island’s first direct presidential election in 1996.

The US and China are the world’s two largest economies with bilateral trade in goods and services reaching nearly $660 billion last year.

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