US President Donald Trump on Thursday reaffirmed Washington's "one China" policy in his first conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), an apparent effort to ease tensions after angering Beijing by questioning a major plank of Sino-US relations. As president-elect, he reversed four decades of USA policy when he spoke by telephone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and declared that the United States was not bound by the "one China" policy, the diplomatic understanding that has underpinned Washington's approach to Beijing since 1979.
A White House statement said the two leaders had a lengthy phone conversation on Thursday night Washington time.
Before assuming office, Trump had said he did not feel "bound by a one-China policy" and had broken protocol by speaking with Taiwan's President on the phone.
"Cooperation is the only right choice for China and the United States,"said Lu". On the campaign trail, Trump promised to label China a currency manipulator and to respond to its "theft of American trade secrets" and "unfair subsidy behavior" by levying a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports.
Several China hawks-including the economist Peter Navarro and the financier Wilbur Ross-were appointed to key economic and trade positions.
Trump's promise to maintain the "one China" policy marks a sharp reversal of his previous statements on the issue.
Looking back at the pre-inauguration Trump, we see a very different posture on China.
But in the absence of those, it looks as if Mr Trump got nothing in return for taking the one-China policy off the table.
"These things need to happen in a very controlled environment for China, and China can't guarantee that with the unpredictable Trump", the diplomat said.
During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted at the idea of setting up a blockade against China's navy in the South China Sea, which some nationalists in China interpreted as an invitation to war.
China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province to be brought back within its fold, by force if necessary, and is opposed to any official contact between foreign governments with the leaders of the self-governing island. "The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency", Trump tweets.
"Mr. Trump is erratic and will not appreciate the suggestion that he has been weak".
The list of security-related disagreements between the two countries is long. "Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the USA doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?"
The White House described the call as "extremely cordial" and that the two leaders had invited each other to visit.
"Every US president since Nixon has come into office promising to be tough on China, and every single one of them has backed off when they realize the complexity of the situation", David Kang, a professor of worldwide relations at the University of Southern California, told me during an interview in January. While he sent the letter more than a week after the January 28 holiday, China responds with praise and rejects suggestions that the timing was a slight.