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China questions future of US relationship after Trump's Taiwan remarks

China has said a "stable" relationship with the US would be "out of the question" if Washington stops honoring the One-China policy. The warning follows Donald Trump's latest remarks concerning relations with Taiwan.

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China expressed "serious concern" on Monday about US President-elect Donald Trump's recent comments suggesting he could drop Washington's long-standing adherence to what's commonly called the "One-China" policy. Under the terms of this policy, countries seeking diplomatic ties with the government in Beijing cannot also formally engage Taiwan's government, although the US does retain many back-channels with Taipei.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing that the principle was the basis of the Sino-American relationship.

"If this basis and foundation is destroyed, then a healthy and stable relationship between China and the US is out of the question," he said.

Geng added that Beijing "urges the new administration to fully understand the importance of the Taiwan issue and carefully and steadily handle this problem."

The comments were the strongest public condemnation China has made concerning Trump's suggested shift in relations with Taipei.

During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Trump said that the US does not have to be bound by the policy unless mainland China makes concessions on trade or other issues.

"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 said during the TV broadcast.

Trump defends Taipei call

Within hours of Trump's televised remarks, an unsigned commentary on a Chinese nationalist website criticized his comments, saying Trump is "as ignorant of diplomacy as a child."

During his Sunday interview, Trump vehemently defending taking a call earlier this month from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. It was the first time an American president or president-elect publicly acknowledged speaking with a Taiwanese leader in almost 40 years and prompted China to formally lodge a complaint with Washington.

"Why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call?" he said. "I think it actually would've been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it."

The US has not had official diplomatic relations with Taipei since 1979 when it recognized Beijing as the capital of China and maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan- which China considers a rouge province awaiting unification. However, the US does retain back-channel contacts with Taipei and is considered the island's main ally.

rs/msh  (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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