Fri, Feb 17, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Taipei had prior knowledge of Trump-Xi call: report

NO NEWS?The ‘Sankei Shimbun’ cited a high-level Taiwanese official as saying: ‘We are up to date on the issue’ and ‘there is no need for unnecessary reaction’

By Chang Mao-sen and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter in TOKYO, with staff writer

Taiwan’s lack of response to the telephone call between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Friday last week was due to the US informing Taipei of the intended conversation prior to the call, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday.

During the call Trump agreed to “honor” the US’ “one China” policy.

According to the report, a “high-level” Taiwanese official said: “We are up to date on the issue; there is no need for unnecessary reaction,” seeming to imply that Taipei had prior knowledge of the call.

The “one China” policy is that Washington acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China.

By contrast, Beijing’s “one China” principle states that both Taiwan and China are inalienable parts of a single “China” and that the People’s republic of China is China’s sole legitimate government, with peaceful resolution a possibility, but the use of force not excluded.

The report said that while Beijing praised Trump’s remarks about agreeing to honor the “one China” policy, the fact that Xinhua news agency made sure to use distinct terms indicated that “Xi is aware of the difference of attitude held by the US and China on the issue.”

The lack of response from Taiwan over the Trump-Xi call was seen as favorable, the Sankei Shimbun reported, adding that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had once again affirmed the US’ “six assurances” to Taipei.

The “six assurances” refer to the guidelines announced by then-US president Ronald Reagan in 1982 that the US would not set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan; would not consult Beijing on arms sales to Taiwan; would not pressure Taiwan to negotiate with China; would not change its position on Taiwanese sovereignty; would not revise the Taiwan Relations Act; and would not mediate between Taipei and Beijing.

In Taipei, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that “Taiwan has made its stance over the call very clear,” adding that the office does not comment on unsubstantiated media reports.

Asked whether Trump had informed Taipei before he made the call, an official familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity, did not deny it, adding that a White House statement had said that the agreement to honor the “one China” policy was at Xi’s request, meaning that Trump does not accept Beijing’s “one China” principle.

Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua

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