Taiwan might have been the first to congratulate U.S. President Donald Trump after he won the recent presidential election, but it seems like the American Commander in Chief has other priorities in mind. After news broke that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is looking to speak with Trump once more, the U.S. President quickly shut down the suggestion, citing the superpower’s budding relationship with China.
According to a recently published Reuters report, U.S. President Donald Trump stated in a White House interview that he would rather not create any problems between him and Chinese President Xi Jinping, especially considering the current challenges emerging from North Korea, a country that has close ties to China. Talking to the Taiwanese Commander in Chief would most likely incite tension between the U.S. and China, considering the sensitive issues surrounding the two Asian nations. In an interview with the news agency, Trump explained his refusal to speak with his Taiwanese counterpart.
“Look, my problem is I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi. I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation. So I wouldn’t want to be causing difficulty right now for him. I think he’s doing an amazing job as a leader and I wouldn’t want to do anything that comes in the way of that. So I would certainly want to speak to him first.”
Taiwan made news early December last year when then President-elect Donald Trump took a congratulatory call from Tsai, the first direct contact between the two nations’ leaders in almost 40 years. Considering China and Taiwan’s long-standing disagreements, however, Trump’s contact with Tsai was quickly condemned by Beijing.
China and Taiwan had been at loggerheads with each other due to Taiwan’s assertive refusal of Beijing’s One China policy, which alleges that the smaller Asian nation is a part of the economic superpower’s territory. Being pretty much an independent state since 1949, however, Taiwan has aired its refusal to be part of autocratic China ever since.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the United States, however, Trump notably agreed to honor the One China policy, a decision that inevitably put a strain on the relationship between America and Taiwan. Nevertheless, Trump’s refusal to have a direct call with the Taiwanese president appears to prove that the American Commander in Chief is putting the North Korean threat at the forefront of his priorities.
China serves as a key ally in the North Korean threat, considering that the Asian superpower is among the most formidable allies of the reclusive Communist state. With North Korea seemingly set on making a military statement soon, the United States needs China’s help in diffusing tensions with the rogue nuclear nation.
Prior to Trump’s refusal to speak to the Taiwanese president, Tsai had made a bold declaration stating her intentions to acquire an advanced F-35 fighter jet from the United States, according to Taiwan News. The F-35 is the most formidable military aircraft from the American Air Force, with highly advanced weaponry and stealth capabilities.
“We have the opportunity to communicate more directly with the U.S. government. We don’t exclude the opportunity to call President Trump himself, but it depends on the needs of the situation and the U.S. government’s consideration of regional affairs.We don’t rule out any items that would be meaningful to our defense and our defense strategy and the F-35 is one such item.”
When Trump was made aware of Taiwan’s possible F-35 purchase request, however, the U.S. President simply stated that he had not been informed of any initiatives to supply the Asian nation with the USAF’s most advanced military aircraft.
“Oh, I haven’t been informed. I’d have to think about that. I’d have to speak to my people about that. They (the Taiwanese government) do buy a lot of equipment from us.”
Considering Trump’s recent refusal to even speak with the Taiwanese president, however, it appears that the Asian nation’s request to acquire more advanced weaponry from the United States would remain a far-off possibility for now.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]