Posted on Beijing Bulletin , Saturday 17th December, 2016
- Obama warns Trump to be careful of provoking a “very significant” response from Beijing
- Obama’s warning comes after Trump’s controversial call with the Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen
- Obama said it is good that the country’s foreign policy is subject to fresh eyes
Following Trump’s controversial call with the Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen, U.S. President Barack Obama has urged his successor, Donald Trump to be careful of provoking a “very significant” response from Beijing.
He said overall it is good that “all of our foreign policy should be subject to fresh eyes” but warned that the U.S. relationship with China is one that should be approached carefully and methodically.
He said Trump must ensure relations with China do not slip into “full conflict mode.”
Since his election, Trump has been adopting a rather confrontational approach on China, accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency, building “a massive fortress” in the South China Sea and not doing enough to pressure Kim Jong-un’s North Korea.
In particular, following the president elect’s questioning of the ‘one-China policy’, Obama said Trump needed to grasp “that for China the issue of Taiwan is as important as anything on their docket.”
“The idea of ‘One China’ is at the heart of their conception as a nation and so if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what are the consequences.”
“Because the Chinese will not treat that the way they will treat some other issues. They won’t even treat it the way they treat issues around the South China Sea, where we have had a lot of tensions. This goes to the core of how they see themselves and their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant.”
Obama also stressed on the importance of the good ties with China, saying “there is probably no bilateral relationship that carries more significance,” especially in the context of the global economy, security and international affairs.
“And where there is also the potential – if that relationship breaks down or goes into a full conflict mode – that everybody is worse off,” the outgoing president added.
Recently, Trump questioned the ‘One China’ policy that no U.S. President has ever refused to abide by in the last 40 years.
Trump had argued that the policy should be negotiated depending on what U.S. gets in return.
He noted in a televised interview, “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. I mean, look, we’re being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don’t tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn’t be doing. Frankly, they’re not helping us at all with North Korea. You have North Korea, you have nuclear weapons, and China could solve that problem. And they’re not helping us at all.”
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