Trump reiterates potential to change longstanding US-China policy

World Today

President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

In less than a week, Donald Trump will be president of the United States. The incoming president has suggested he may scrap a decades-old U.S. policy on China.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.


In less than a week, Donald Trump will be president of the United States. The incoming president has suggested he may scrap a decades-old U.S. policy on China.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said the One-China policy was up for negotiation—a suggestion that will anger Chinese officials.

The One-China policy has served as the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations for decades. It effectively requires nations to pick a side—recognize Beijing, or recognize Taipei—but not both.

The policy’s introduction in the late 1970s saw Washington sever diplomatic relations with the latter, in exchange for ties with the People’s Republic of China. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Trump said he would not commit to any existing agreement, until he saw “progress” from China on issues such as trade and currency valuation.

“Everything is under negotiation, including One China,” Trump said in the interview.

But the incoming-U.S. President stopped short of confirming language he used during his campaign—when he said he would label China a currency manipulator once taking office.

“I would talk to them first,” Trump said in the interview, adding, “certainly they are manipulators. But I’m not looking to do that.”

Chinese officials have indicated such tough talk could lead to a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. While noting it would work with any U.S. administration, Beijing has urged Trump against taking any bold steps to change the status quo.

Trump had already hinted last month that we would be questioning Washington’s long-established positions on China when he spoke by phone with the Taiwanese leader. The move quickly drew rebuke from Beijing.

“I want to stress that the Taiwan issue involves China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and China’s core interests. Adhering to One-China principle is the political foundation for the development of China-U.S. relations. If such a foundation is disrupted and undermined, the sound and steady growth of those relations and bilateral cooperation in major fields would be impossible,” said Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

But Trump defended the call, saying “we sold them $2 billion of military equipment last year. We can sell them $2 billion of the latest and greatest military equipment but we’re not allowed to accept a phone call.”

During the campaign, Trump frequently attacked China. In fact, one internet video that went viral had him saying nothing but “China” for three minutes straight. But Chinese officials may be less than entertained by Trump’s approach to Beijing, and will quickly want clear signals on where he intends to take U.S. foreign policy come January 20th.

Max Baucus, the current U.S. Ambassador to China

CGTN’s Dialogue program spoke to Max Baucus, the current U.S. Ambassador to China, about U.S.-Chinese relations.