In his first semiofficial act of foreign policy, President-elect Trump affronted China and upset the apple cart of US-China relations by accepting a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, breaking thirty-seven years of American tradition.
China considers Taiwan a renegade breakaway province, and its leaders were not pleased when Trump’s aides reported that Trump and Taiwan’s President have spoken about “close economic, political, and security ties” between the two countries. When the news of the Trump-Tsai phone call first broke, foreign-policy experts were appalled; everyone generally agreed that it was a dramatic departure from four decades of the United States’ official non-recognition and partial isolation of the island that both China and Taiwan consider their own.
At that time, it was unclear whether Trump with this decision intended to abruptly change geopolitics, or whether this was simply a new administration-unschooled in the diplomatic protocol of US-China relations-incompetently improvising. There is indication of both; in either case, the manner in which Trump chose to act was very dangerous. The Asian governmental and scholarly communities however remain divided on whether the Trump-Tsai call was inherently a good or a bad thing.