Trump suggests he may do away with Russia sanctions if Moscow helpful, won’t commit to ‘one China’ policy

President-elect Donald Trump waves to supporters in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Jan 13, 2017, in New York.
President-elect Donald Trump waves to supporters in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Jan 13, 2017, in New York. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) – US President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he would keep intact sanctions against Russia “at least for a period of time,” and that he wouldn’t commit to the “one China” policy until he sees progress from Beijing in its currency and trade practices.

In excerpts from an hour-long interview published by the Journal on Friday, Trump said: “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”

Trump suggested he might do away with the sanctions - imposed by the Obama administration in late December in response to Moscow’s alleged cyber attacks – if Moscow proves helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to Washington, the Journal reported.

Trump told the newspaper he is prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin some time after he is sworn in on Jan 20. “I understand that they would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me,” he said.

Asked if he supported the “one China” policy on Taiwan that has underpinned US relations with Beijing for decades, Trump told the Journal: “Everything is under negotiation including One China.”

Trump angered the Chinese by taking a congratulatory phone call after his election win from Taiwan’s leader and questioning the “one China” policy.

The United States has acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China.

Trump has said in the past he would label China a currency manipulator after he takes office. In the interview, he said he wouldn’t take that step on his first day in the White House.

“I would talk to them first,” he said.

“Certainly they are manipulators,” he added. “But I’m not looking to do that.”

But he made plain his displeasure with China’s currency practices. “Instead of saying, ‘We’re devaluating our currency, ’they say, ‘Oh, our currency is dropping.’ It’s not dropping. They’re doing it on purpose,” he said, according to the Journal.

“Our companies can’t compete with them now because our currency is strong and it’s killing us,” the Journal quoted Trump as saying.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded on Saturday by saying the “One China” principle was non-negotiable and was the “political basis” for China-US relations.

“We urge the relevant parties in the United States to recognise the high degree of sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and abide by commitments made by successive US administrations from both parties to pursue the One China policy... and properly handle the Taiwan issue so as not to affect the stable development of China-US relations and cooperation between the two countries,” spokesman Lu Kang said.