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Trump's VP defends his talks with Taiwan president

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 4, 2016 9:52PM

US Vice President-elect Mike Pence defends Donald Trump's phone conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, which drew criticism from China.

Pence appeared on NBC on Sunday, saying the Friday conversation with the Asian president was just a "courtesy call."

The former Indiana governor asserted that the future president also talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping "in the same manner."

"I think I would just say to our counterparts in China that this was a moment of courtesy. The president-elect talked to President Xi two weeks ago in the same manner that was not a discussion about policy. We're going to be prepared, after January 20th to advance what will be President Trump's agenda on the world stage and will deal with policy at that time," said the vice president-elect.

The telephone conversation prompted a response from Beijing on Saturday, saying the contact was a "ploy by the Taiwan side."

Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its own territory awaiting reunification with China and any move implying independence for the island would anger Chinese leaders.

According to Trump's office, the US president-elect and Tsai underlined "the close economic, political and security ties" between Taiwan and the US in their talks.

Washington cut formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 and recognizes Beijing as the sole government of "One China".

The 10-minute telephone call was the first by a US leader since former president Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

Washington remains Taiwan's most important political ally and sole arms supplier.

China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the Western Pacific Ocean. They split politically following the 1927-1950 Chinese Civil War and there have been no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations ever since.

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