It’s ‘gloves off’ if Trump continues his Taiwan line as president, China Daily warns

It’s ‘gloves off’ if Trump continues his Taiwan line as president, China Daily warns
China has hit out at US President-elect Donald Trump over his Taiwan policy again in an editorial in the state daily. This time it’s “gloves off” if Trump does not stop his support for the island’s independence-seeking leader.

Everything continues to be about the One China principle for Beijing – the principle that Taiwan is Chinese territory. In this newly published message to the US president-elect, the China Daily warns Trump against dangling his disregard of that policy as a “trump card” against China. 

On Friday, Trump once again reiterated to the Wall Street Journal that he is considering dispensing with the One China principle, as he repeated that “Everything is under negotiation, including ‘One China’” – a policy he previously questioned, shocking Beijing to its core.

To Beijing, Trump’s disregard of the long-standing One China principle seeks to open a “Pandora’s box of lethal potential,” the Daily writes. One which, if opened, “may upend the hard-earned, firmly held fundamentals governing the relationship.”

With Sunday’s interview, Trump reinforced the impression that “he intends to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip.” Even then, “Beijing did not go beyond what it had already said” of Trump’s actions, it added.

“Such a measured response can only come from a genuine, sincere wish that the less-than-desirable, yet by-and-large manageable, big picture of China-US relations will not be derailed before Trump even enters office.

“It would be a blessing for both parties, and indeed for the world, if such goodwill could be appreciated and reciprocated. But that seems unlikely.”

To Beijing, “It seems wishful thinking to assume Trump and his team’s remarks on Taiwan have been based on bluster and miscalculation. On the contrary, it appears the next administration is intending to use the one-China policy as its trump card.”

The state-owned newspaper proceeded to warn that if Trump were to continue down that road once he takes office, “a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves.”

While Beijing concedes that its retaliation “may be costly,” it believes it “a worthy price to pay to make the next US president aware of the special sensitivity, and serious consequences of his Taiwan game.”

Trouble started with Tsai’s congratulatory phone call to Trump, followed by the president-elect making clear in several different interviews that he had no qualms about talking to and cooperating with Taiwan, as he questioned China’s right to dictate who the US does business with.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been making her international presence felt by visiting with US Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, while en route to a tour of Latin America. Bloomberg cited Cruz as saying the two discussed “arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations.”

The One China principle – official US foreign policy for the last four decades – is structured around the recognition of a unified China, with unrecognized Taiwan viewed as a province.

Trump’s attacks have strayed far outside Taiwan, beginning with accusations of Chinese currency manipulation, as well as aggressive territory-grabbing in the South China Sea.

Tsai has meanwhile returned from her Latin America tour, in which she met with four heads of state.

“Our first objective [of this trip] was to consolidate our state friendships and allow Taiwan to walk on the international stage,” she said of the tour, according to the Guardian.

While firing off editorials through the Global Times, Beijing also tried to pressure Washington into not allowing Tsai to transit through the United States – a move which was, however, shrugged off by the Americans, who said that the courtesy was in line with well-established practices.

Trump’s latest remarks on the One China policy also elicited a response from Beijing’s Foreign Ministry, which called on “relevant parties” in the US to recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan question.