US President-elect, Donald Trump, has risked a China rift by being the first President or President-elect to speak to a leader of Taiwan since relations were severed in 1979.
He spoke with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, on Friday, with four different people confirming the call.
“The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions,” said Evan Medeiros, former Asia director at the White House national security council, who now heads Asia research at Eurasia Group.
“Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative. With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for US-China relations,” he continued.
The US has adopted the so-called “One China” policy since 1972 after the Nixon-Mao meetings and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter formally recognised Beijing as the sole government of China, with the US embassy closing in Taipei the year after, the Financial Times explained.