As President Trump was being feted by Chinese President Xi Jinping including accompanying the U.S. leader in a historic visit of the Forbidden City, his government was releasing an ominous statement regarding Taiwan.
In the statement Xi makes it abundantly clear he won’t tolerate Trump’s formal recognition of what China has long considered to be little more than a renegade province.
“The Taiwan issue is the most important, most sensitive core issue in China-U.S. relations, and concerns the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship,” China’s foreign ministry paraphrased Xi as telling Trump.
China, meanwhile, “hopes that the U.S. side continues to scrupulously abide by the ‘one China’ principle, and prevents disturbances to the broader picture of China-U.S. ties”, Xi added.
Trump told Xi that the United States government upheld and stuck to the “one China” policy, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
In the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, however, deputy minister of Taiwan’s China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council said Beijing ought to respect Taiwan’s people.
Chinese leaders suspect that Taiwan, under current president President Tsai Ing-wen, is secretly pushing for independence. Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Tsai shortly after he won the November election, becoming the first U.S. leader to speak to a Taiwanese head of state since 1979.
Analyst comment: 1) China will never concede to Taiwanese independence; 2) The U.S. has a mutual defense agreement with Taiwan and supplies the island democracy with weapons; 3) China is planning to repatriate Taiwan by force, if necessary, and is currently building its naval, air and ground forces to meet that challenge. No matter what else happens during Trump’s visit, no one should forget these three constants.
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