US to let in Taiwan president, rejecting China's request to block visit
Iran Press TV
Wed Dec 7, 2016 2:27PM
The United States government has turned down China's request to block Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's planned stopover on US soil in the coming weeks, further fueling tensions caused by President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with Tsai.
According to US State Department spokesman Mark Toner, Tsai's trip would be based on "long-standing US practice, consistent with the unofficial nature of relations with Taiwan."
Trump's phone conversation with Tsai on Friday angered the Chinese government, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province awaiting reunification.
The conversation was a first by a US president or president-elect since Washington cut ties with Taiwan in 1979 and committed to the "one-China" principle, which recognizes Taiwan as a part of China.
Following the call, reports emerged that Tsai was going to make a short stop in New York City on her way to the South American countries of Guatemala and El Salvador early next month.
Some reports even stated that her aides were seeking to schedule meetings with Trump and his administration officials, although one Trump adviser said such meetings were "very unlikely."
Infuriated by Trump's move, Beijing urged American officials to avoid sending "any wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces" by letting Tsai in.
According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, senior National Security Council officials have spoken twice with Chinese officials since the phone call, reassuring them about Washington's commitment to "our longstanding China policy."
"If the president-elect's team has a different aim, I'll leave it to them to describe," he said at a recent media briefing.
US Vice President-elect Mike Pence has also tried to play down the conversation's significance, describing it as nothing but a "courtesy" call from Taipei.
Tsai herself tried to calm the situation in a press conference on Tuesday, telling reporters that she only wanted to congratulate Trump on his November 8 election victory.
"I do not foresee major policy shifts in the near future because we all see the value of stability in the region," she told reporters.
Meanwhile, Trump further distanced himself from years of US political correctness regarding China by accusing Beijing of devaluing its currency and building a "massive" military complex.
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