By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, FEB 10: US President Donald Trump in his first telephonic communication with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to maintain status quo on ‘One China’ policy.
Making a U-turn from his previous statement of questioning the need to honor the policy and his conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, President Trump on Thursday assured Xi that he would not challenge the four decade old stand towards Taiwan.
“President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘One China’ policy,” the White House said after the first phone conversation between the two leaders, which according to the statement was ‘extremely cordial’ and had discussions on various issues.
Chinese President Xi welcomed the decision and appreciated Trump’s acknowledgment of the policy’s importance in advancing bilateral ties between the two super powers.
According to media reports, a prominent panel of China specialists advised the Trump administration against abandoning the policy and called the move ‘exceedingly dangerous’.
There are few who see it as Trump’s withdrawal from his tough talks on China during his campaign. Lawyer James Zimmerman, a former head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China told Reuters that Trump should not have brought up the topic of ‘One China Policy’.
“The end result is that Trump just confirmed to the world that he is a paper tiger, a 'zhilaohu' – someone that seems threatening but is wholly ineffectual and unable to stomach a challenge," he said.
President Trump in an interview with Fox News in December last year hinted that his government might not necessarily be bound by the policy.
“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,” he said.
The policy refers to the idea that there is only one state called China and that Taiwan is a break- away province and a part of the mainland. According to it, every nation seeking diplomatic ties with the China must break ties with Taiwan and vice versa.