President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone Friday with Tsai Ying-wen, the president of Taiwan. The call was the first in more than 30 years between an American president-elect and a leader of the island.
According to a readout of the call from the Trump transition team, Tsai congratulated Trump on his victory, and the two discussed “the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States.”
But the Trump team’s description of the call belies the fact that the conversation has the potential to upset three decades of relations between the United States and its most important global trading partner.
The United States and most of the international community acknowledge China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. But Taiwan, with its own elected government, constitution and military, considers itself an independent nation.
The U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, when it established formal ties with the People’s Republic of China. Trump’s call will likely enrage Beijing, and stands to damage U.S. relations with China before Trump even takes office. Read full story here