Donald Trump's Taiwan call: Conservatives rally round 'refreshing' call

They say phone call with Taiwan leader shows President-elect is standing up to China

Donald Trump has spoken on the phone with the Taiwanese president, a controversial move that broke a decades-long US stance.
Mr Trump's 10-minute phone call with Taiwan's President Tsai drew protest from Beijing, criticism from old hands of US foreign policy, but support from those in other quarters.
Mr Trump's 10-minute phone call with Taiwan's President Tsai drew protest from Beijing, criticism from old hands of US foreign policy, but support from those in other quarters.PHOTO: REUTERS

Amid wide criticism of Mr Donald Trump's phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, prominent conservatives in the United States are rallying around the President-elect, saying it is "refreshing" and shows that he is standing up to China.

 Mr Trump's 10-minute phone call with Ms Tsai last Friday broke decades of US diplomatic policy, provoking criticism from US foreign policy old hands as well as a protest from Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province and insists the international community recognise it as a part of China. 

In 1978, the US under then President Jimmy Carter agreed to the One China policy. Since 1979, the US has had no diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The US, however, has deep trade and defence ties with Taiwan, and sells it weapons.

Mr Trump has attacked China during his campaign and called the US-China economic relationship one-sided, sparking worries he may start a trade war with China.

In that context, some analysts said the call with Ms Tsai may have been quite calculated.

 
 

"I hope it was by design," Mr Ari Fleischer, a White House spokesman under former president George W. Bush, tweeted last Saturday.  "China has been increasingly aggressive with us because they know we won't do anything meaningful about it. I don't mind Trump pushing back."

  • PAYING THE PRICE

    If the Taiwan government ever does anything to break the status quo, it must pay the price.

    THE GLOBAL TIMES


    ONE MAN'S MISTAKE

    This is not about a national policy stance change; it was the mistake of one man.

    TAIPEI TIMES


    CHINA'S AGGRESSIVENESS

    China has been increasingly aggressive with us because they know we won't do anything meaningful about it. I don't mind Trump pushing back.

    FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN ARI FLEISCHER


    TRYING TO WING IT

    Obviously, it was an example of what is all too often happening now with this incoming administration. This tendency to wing it.

    VETERAN US DIPLOMAT CHRISTOPHER HILL

 On the website of the largely pro-Trump Fox News, Mr Stephen Yates, a deputy national security adviser to former vice-president Dick Cheney, and Mr Christian Whiton, a  State Department adviser in the George W. Bush administration, wrote: "China and the Washington foreign policy establishment thought they could tell President-elect Donald Trump who he can and cannot speak with on the phone. They thought wrong.''

They added: "The fact that a simple courtesy call caused so much trepidation and genuflections to past protocol shows just how absurd US-China policy has become."

 Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted: "I would much rather have Donald Trump talking to President Tsai than to Cuba's Raul Castro or Iran's Hassan Rouhani."

It was a dig at President Barack Obama, who has spoken to the Iranian President, Mr  Rouhani, on the phone, and met Mr Castro on a trip to Cuba. Mr Trump and many conservatives are against Mr Obama's rapprochement with Iran and Cuba, and could roll back agreements made by Mr Obama.

 Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee also supported the call.

"I'm proud to see Donald Trump have that conversation," he told Fox News. "It bodes well for him taking a stand that says we'll talk to whoever we wish to talk to."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline 'Conservatives rally round 'refreshing' call'. Subscribe