US President Donald Trump affirms respect for the "One China" policy in his first conversation with China's leader since Trump's inauguration. The position acknowledges China's sovereignty over Taiwan.
Trump reaffirmed Washington's long-standing "one China policy" during a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday evening.
Both the White House and the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said the pair had spoken by phone, and that Trump had agreed to Xi's request to honor the policy. Maintaining the position means that the US is only able to have unofficial relations with the Taiwanese government.
According to the White House, the call was "extremely cordial." In the past, Trump has criticized China for its military buildup in the South China Sea, as well as alleged unfair trade practices.
The White House statement added that during the call, the two leaders "extended invitations to meet in their respective countries."
"Xi Jinping appreciates Trump's emphasis on the American government's commitment to the One China policy and pointed out that the One China principle is the political foundation of US-China relations," CCTV reported.
Taiwan later released a statement saying it was in its best interests to maintain good relations with the United States as well as with China.
Previous wavering on issue
Trump, who was inaugurated last month, had previously said his government did not necessarily have to stick to longstanding US policy with regard to Taiwan.
He also drew censure from Beijing for taking a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen shortly after winning November's presidential election.
Under the "One China" policy, all countries seeking diplomatic relations with China must break off official relations with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province. Taiwanese authorities consider the island an independent country.
Washington shifted diplomatic recognition from self-governing Taiwan to China in 1979.
In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" only last month, Trump said he would not support the "One China" stance before Beijing showed progress on its trade and currency practices.
rs, /gsw (AFP, AP, Reuters)