By The Horn
For eight years, our so-called “friends” in China have pushed President Barack Obama around, getting every kind of favorable treatment imaginable. Now that President-elect Donald Trump is promising to change that, the Chinese are furious — and used a provocative nuclear bomber fly-by to send a message to the U.S. that we’d better keep playing ball.
And experts say the move proves how nervous the Asian giant is that America is back in charge. China said Monday that it had “serious concern” about Trump’s most recent comments about Taiwan, and warned that any changes to how America deals with the self-governing island could damage diplomatic ties between Washington and Beijing.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said that established policy is the “political foundation” of any diplomatic relationship between China and the U.S., and that any damage to it could render cooperation “out of the question.”
“We urge the new U.S. leader and government to fully understand the seriousness of the Taiwan issue, and to continue to stick to the one-China policy,” Geng said.
It wasn’t just words the Chinese used to send a message. According to Fox News, “China flew a long-range nuclear-capable bomber outside China for the first time since President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the president of Taiwan, two US officials told Fox News. The dramatic show of force was meant to send a message to the new administration, according to the officials. It marks the second time Beijing flew bombers in the region since Trump was elected.”
Since recognizing the People’s Republic of China in 1979, the U.S. has adhered to the one-China policy, recognizing Beijing as the capital of China and maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan. American law, however, requires the U.S. to ensure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself and to treat all threats to the island as matters of serious concern.
China split from Taiwan amid civil war in 1949 and continues to regard the island as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Geng’s comments are the strongest public condemnation China has made of Trump’s criticisms of current American policy toward Taiwan. Beijing was already angered by Trump’s Dec. 2 phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect has publicly spoken to a Taiwanese leader in nearly four decades. China considers any reference to a separate Taiwanese head of state to be a grave insult.
Trump followed the call with two tweets accusing China of manipulating its currency, unfairly taxing American imports and provoking tensions in the South China Sea. Over the weekend, he told “Fox News Sunday” that he wouldn’t feel “bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”
Trump said his call with Tsai was “very nice” and strictly meant to congratulate him on his winning the presidential election. “Why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?” he said. “I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it.”
Insiders say that the call was a shrewd political move by Trump, intending to drive China back to the bargaining table. “Trump’s controversial phone call with Taiwan’s leader was planned weeks in advance,” The Daily Beast reported. “Sources familiar with the matter said Trump’s advisory team had planned the phone call as a provocative stunt to portray Trump as a radical change from previous presidents”
Hours after the interview aired, China’s Communist Party-controlled Global Times published a Chinese-language editorial headlined: “Trump, please listen clearly: ‘One China’ cannot be traded.”
“China needs to launch a resolute struggle with him,” the editorial said. “Only after he’s hit some obstacles and truly understands that China and the rest of the world are not to be bullied will he gain some perception.”
“Many people might be surprised at how the new U.S. leader is truly a ‘businessman’ through-and-through,” the paper said, referring to Trump’s suggestion of using the one-China policy as a bargaining chip. “But in the field of diplomacy, he is as ignorant as a child.”
Such a public temper tantrum by the Chinese authorities does portray one side as childish — and it’s not Trump.