Should Donald Trump break the “one-China” policy after taking office, the Chinese people will call on the government to “take revenge,” Beijing’s unofficial mouthpiece warned shortly after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made a stopover in Houston.
“Trump is yet to be inaugurated, and there is no need for Beijing to sacrifice bilateral ties for the sake of Taiwan. But in case he tears up the one-China policy after taking office, the mainland is fully prepared,” the Communist party-owned Chinese newspaper Global Times said in an editorial on Sunday. “Beijing would rather break ties with the US if necessary. We would like to see whether US voters will support their president to ruin Sino-US relations and destabilize the entire Asia-Pacific region,” it added.
“If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining,” the Global Times concluded.
On Sunday, Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen, whom China does not recognize as legitimate, met with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz during her stopover in Houston en route to Central America.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 8, 2017
Cruz said that shortly before the meeting the Houston congressional delegation had received a letter from the Chinese consulate asking them not to meet with President Tsai.
“Sticking to [the one China] principle is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific,” the Global Times editorial said on Sunday.
The question of Taiwanese independence is one of China’s most touchy policy issues. China considers the small island 80 kilometers (110 miles) off its southeastern coast to be a renegade province, and any official contact between foreign governments and Taiwan’s leaders immediately comes under fire from Beijing.
“The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves,” Cruz said in a statement.
“This is not about the PRC. This is about the US relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend. The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit,” he added.
Beijing officials have kept a close eye on Tsai, believing that Taiwan’s first female president is keen to push for the island’s formal independence.
The Global Times warned in its latest editorial that the mainland“will impose further military pressure”on Taiwan, adding that“Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes.”
“It should also impose military pressure on Taiwan and push it to the edge of being reunified by force, so as to effectively affect the approval rating of the Tsai administration,” the editorial says.
The Chinese government should be prepared to seize Taiwan by force before the new US administration “activates the Taiwan card” to dictate terms in mutual relations, the Global Times stated last month. “It might be time for the Chinese mainland to reformulate its Taiwan policy, make the use of force as a main option and carefully prepare for it,” it added.
Trump caused uproar in a conversation on trade relations with Fox News last month when he said that “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 don’t want China dictating to me,” he stressed.
Trump triggered an avalanche of protest from Beijing by becoming the first American president or president-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader since 1979, thus openly questioning Washington’s previous commitment to Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of one China.
Under President Jimmy Carter, the US switched its diplomatic recognition of China from Taipei to Beijing in a joint communiqué issued by America and the People’s Republic of China, acknowledging “the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.” Nonetheless, Washington has maintained commercial ties with Taiwan for nearly four decades. Taiwan is the US’ ninth largest trading partner, and the United States is Taiwan’s second largest, the US State Department says.