No reason for US to be bound by 'one China' policy: Trump

China has expressed 'serious concern' after US President-elect Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to consider Taiwan as part of 'one China'.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the DeltaPlex Arena, on Dec 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the DeltaPlex Arena, on Dec 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump has questioned whether the US has to be bound by its longstanding position that Taiwan is part of "one China" and brushed aside Beijing's concerns about his decision to accept a phone call from Taiwan's President.

"I fully understand the 'one China' policy, 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," the United States President-elect said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.

The congratulatory call that Mr Trump accepted from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was the first such contact with Taiwan by a US president-elect or president since Mr Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China".

Taiwan is one of China's most sensitive policy issues, and China generally lambasts any official contact by foreign governments with Taiwan's leaders.

In the Fox interview, Mr Trump criticised China over its policies on issues such as currency, the South China Sea and North Korea, and said it was not up to Beijing to decide if he should take a call from Taiwan's leader. "I don't want China dictating to me, and this was a call put in to me," Mr Trump said. "It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call?

"I think it actually would've been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it," Mr Trump added. He also said he had just a couple of hours' notice of the call, not weeks as has been reported.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2016, with the headline 'No reason for US to be bound by 'one China' policy: Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe