As Net users in China express outrage over US President-elect Donald Trump's latest comments that the US should not necessarily be bound by the one-China policy, analysts suggested that authorities should be circumspect, as his remarks may just reveal the extent of his lack of knowledge and experience.
After being criticized for receiving Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's phone call and his provocative follow-up tweets, Trump implied in a Sunday interview that the US should openly defy the 1979 joint communiqué and use its recognition of the one-China policy as a bargaining chip.
"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," Trump told Fox News.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Monday that "The one-China policy is the political foundation of Sino-US ties," and the stable and healthy development of Sino-US ties and cooperation in major areas will be severely affected if this foundation were to be undermined.
"Trump and his team believe they can put Taiwan on the table to bargain with China. For a businessman like Trump, this negotiation strategy is typical," said Wang Yiwei, a senior fellow of international relations at the Renmin University of China, adding that "Trump simply wants to probe China's bottom line before he takes office, because China cannot formally react to a president-elect."
"Trump is an entrepreneur who pursues profit. He took his business partners to court many times, so in order to maximize his benefits, he isn't afraid of friction with his partners and competitors," Chu Yin, associate professor at the University of International Relations, told the Global Times on Monday.
Trump's personality will influence US diplomacy in the future, so China has to prepare for this change, Chu suggested.
Foundation of relationship
The one-China policy has been the foundation of Sino-US relations since 1979 when both countries established formal diplomatic ties.
"China and the US have had many serious frictions and tensions after 1979, but no US president or president-elect has dared challenge the one-China policy," Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University, told the Global Times.
It would be unimaginable if Trump really wants to overthrow the foundation of the Sino-US relationship, because China will definitely not compromise. There is no space for bargaining on the Taiwan question, Shi said.
"If Trump dares risk destabilizing the bilateral relationship, he will receive the strongest reaction from China which includes withdrawing its ambassador from the US, economic sanctions and military action."
"Since the consequences are extremely unimaginable, I believe Trump is talking nonsense again," Shi said.
On Trump's latest comment, Chinese netizens' response has been much tougher than the official line.
"Should we just throw every document we signed with the US to the trash bin (since Trump is not playing by the rules)," a netizen said on guancha.cn, a Chinese news website.
Another said on Global Times' WeChat account, "Please continue, we are trying to find an excuse to solve the problem of Taiwan immediately and militarily."
Unlikely to meet Tsai
Taiwan-based newspaper the Liberty Times, which is close to Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party, reported on December 5 that Tsai was planning to transit through New York City early next month on her way to Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. As Trump's inauguration is also in January 2017, the potential of a meeting between Trump and Tsai is being discussed by the media.
An anonymous adviser to Trump's transition team said a meeting is "very unlikely," Reuters reported.
China hopes the US "does not allow her to transit, and does not send any wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters on December 6.
According to Taiwan's Central News Agency, Lee Ta-wei, "the Foreign Minister" of Taiwan, had officially confirmed that Tsai will visit Latin America in January but "New York has never been considered as a stop," and "there is no schedule for a meeting with Trump."