Following President-elect Donald Trump’s direct contact with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2nd, the Chinese government raised concerns over the President-elect’s disregard of 40 years of diplomatic practices between Washington and Beijing. China’s foreign ministry warns the U.S. government against pursuing further diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Starting in 1979, the United States ceased official diplomatic relations with Taiwan to recognize the People’s Republic of China’s claim on Taiwan known as the “one China” policy. Established by Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong, the policy has provided a political foundation for future relations between the two countries. Unless China agrees to make a trade deal, Trump’s suggestion of changes to the policy jeopardizes the progress between China-U.S. ties.
China has gained enough economic influence in the U.S. market that the Chinese government could retaliate against Trump’s policies. In 2015, the Chinese government charged Qualcomm, a technology firm based in San Diego, 975 million dollars under China’s anti-monopoly laws. Other than penalizing U.S. based corporations, China could depreciate its currency, causing a reduction in Chinese investment in the United States: the Rhodium Group, a New York-based policy advisory group, confirming that Chinese investment in the United States surmounts United States investment in China.
Undeniably, the people living in Taiwan are among those most impacted by China-U.S. relations yet have a limited direct say on the issue. Taiwanese nationalists have expressed their concern over the United States using Taiwan as leverage for its own political agenda. Others hope that this marks a change in the international community’s view of Taiwan’s sovereignty.