BEIJING • China will "take off the gloves" and take strong action if US President-elect Donald Trump continues to provoke Beijing over Taiwan once he assumes office, two leading state-run newspapers said yesterday.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published last Friday, Mr Trump said the "one China" policy was up for negotiation.
China's Foreign Ministry, in response, said the "one China" principle was the foundation of China-US ties and was non-negotiable.
Mr Trump broke with decades of precedent last month by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, angering Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of China.
"If Trump is determined to use this gambit in taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves," the China Daily said.
WARNING TO U.S.
If Trump is determined to use this gambit in taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves.
The Chinese mainland will be prompted to speed up Taiwan reunification and mercilessly combat those who advocate Taiwan's independence.
If anyone attempts to damage the 'one China' principle or if they are under the illusion that they can use this as a bargaining chip, they will be opposed by the Chinese government and people... In the end, it will be like lifting a rock to drop it on one's own feet.
MS HUA CHUNYING, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The Global Times, an influential tabloid, echoed it, saying Beijing would take "strong countermeasures" against Mr Trump's attempt to "impair" the "one China" principle.
"The Chinese mainland will be prompted to speed up Taiwan reunification and mercilessly combat those who advocate Taiwan's independence," the paper said in its editorial.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the United States was clearly aware of China's position on the "one China" policy.
"Any person should understand that in this world, there are certain things that cannot be traded or bought and sold," she told a daily news briefing.
"The 'one China' principle is the precondition and political basis for any country having relations with China... If anyone attempts to damage the 'one China' principle or if they are under the illusion that they can use this as a bargaining chip, they will be opposed by the Chinese government and people," said Ms Hua.
"In the end, it will be like lifting a rock to drop it on one's own feet," she added, without elaborating.
The Global Times said Mr Trump's endorsement of Taiwan was merely a ploy to further his administration's short-term interests, adding: "Taiwan may be sacrificed as a result of this despicable strategy."
Mr Yang Yizhou, deputy head of China's government-run All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots, told an academic meeting on cross- strait relations in Beijing on Saturday that any step taken towards Taiwan independence must "pay a cost".
"If you do not beat them until they are bloody and bruised, then they will not retreat," Mr Yang said, according to a report yesterday on the meeting by the official People's Daily Overseas Edition.
The US, which switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, has acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of it.
The China Daily said Beijing's relatively measured response to Mr Trump's comments in the Wall Street Journal "can only come from a genuine, sincere wish that the less than desirable, yet by and large manageable, big picture of China-US relations will not be derailed before Trump even enters office".
But China should not count on the assumption that Mr Trump's Taiwan moves are "a pre-inauguration bluff, and instead be prepared for him to continue backing his bet".
"It may be costly. But it will prove a worthy price to pay to make the next US president aware of the special sensitivity and serious consequences of his Taiwan game," said the national daily.