On Thursday evening, Trump spoke with China’s President Xi Jinping, their first conversation since his January 20 inauguration.
A White House statement said he “agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy.” It was announced by Jimmy Carter in December 1978 – made official US policy on January 1, 1979.
Trump earlier saying “(e)verything is under negotiation including one China” didn’t go down well in Beijing. It considers Taiwan an inalienable part of the mainland. Normalized bilateral relations depend on Washington continuing to recognize it.
Taiwan’s reaction was muted. President Tsai-Ing-wen’s spokesman said it was in the interest of its country to maintain good relations with America and China.
According to a White House statement, both leaders “extended invitations to meet in their respective countries. President Trump and President Xi look forward to further talks with very successful outcomes…on various issues of mutual interest” – with no further elaboration.
Thursday’s phone call followed Trump’s letter to Xi, saying he seeks a “constructive relationship” with Beijing, extending an olive branch after earlier hostile comments, along with China’s concern over challenges by Washington to develop island territories in its own waters.
According to China’s Xinhua news agency, Xi and Trump pledged “cooperation in a variety of areas and develop a constructive China-US relationship.”
Both countries “maintained close communication on issues of common concern since Trump’s inauguration, Xi noted, saying that the necessity and urgency of strengthening China-US cooperation is further increased in the face of the current complicated international situation and various challenges.”
Trump said he’s committed to mutual cooperation with China on trade, investment and international affairs issues. Both leaders agreed to maintain close contacts.
Earlier Trump comments on China were hostile, saying “we are so tied with China and Asia that their markets are now taking the US market down.”
China is “taking our jobs (and) our money. We have nobody that has a clue…They keep devaluing their currency…and that’s going to be devastating for us.”
Statements by both governments excluded contentious issues. They haven’t gone away.
They risk less than cordial US relations with China ahead, notably continuing Obama’s hostile Asia pivot targeting Beijing.