Donald Trump looked to have sparked a potentially damaging diplomatic row with China on Friday after speaking to
Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on the telephone in a move experts said would anger Beijing.
The call, first reported by the Taipei
Times and confirmed by the Financial Times, is thought to be the first between the leader of the island and a US president or president-elect since ties between America and Taiwan were severed in 1979, at Beijing’s behest.
The US closed its embassy in Taiwan – a democratically ruled island which Beijing considers a
breakaway province – in the late 1970s following the historic
rapprochement between Beijing and Washington that stemmed from Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip to China.
Since then the US has adhered to the so- called “one China” principle which officially considers the independently governed island part of the same single Chinese nation as the mainland.
Trump’s transition team said Tsai, who was elected Tawain’s first female president in January, had congratulated the billionaire tycoon on his recent
“During the discussion they noted the close economic, political, and security ties that exist between Taiwan and the United States,” a statement said.
“President-elect Trump also
congratulated President Tsai on
becoming president of Taiwan earlier this year.”