Trump Caves on One China Policy? | China Uncensored
In a recent phone call with Xi Jinping, President Trump promised to "honor our 'one China' policy." Did Trump walk back on his hardline stance? It depends on what your definition of "our" is.
Transcript : On this episode of China Uncensored, 0:01 Donald Trump and the One China Policy… 0:08 Hi, welcome to China Uncensored. 0:10 I’m your host Chris Chappell. 0:11 Did you hear what President Trump did? 0:14 Uhhh, okay let me narrow that down a bit. 0:16 Did you hear what President Trump did specifically 0:19 with regards to China’s One China Policy? 0:22 He called the entire policy into question! 0:24 Oh no no. 0:25 Sorry. 0:25 That was from two months ago. 0:27 I meant to talk about the latest development. 0:30 He agreed to uphold the One China Policy! 0:34 How dare he do the same thing every US president has done 0:37 since the 1970s! 0:40 So what does that mean? 0:42 Well according to the “analysts” 0:44 in this The New York Times article, 0:46 this proves that Trump is a weak leader. 0:50 Look, I know how it goes. 0:52 You're supposed to write an article 0:53 about what "experts" think about Trump's decision. 0:56 You're in Beijing, on deadline, 0:58 and no one's answering your calls, 0:59 so you end up with an article with eight paragraphs of quotes 1:03 from two Chinese professors who are more than willing 1:06 to talk about how the US is weak. 1:09 Unfortunately, 1:09 that plays right into the Communist Party's hands. 1:12 You see, 1:13 according to this Pentagon study on “China: Three Warfares,” 1:17 the Party specifically uses “Media Warfare,” 1:19 to shape international public opinion on China 1:22 and "Psychological Warfare" to “foment anti-leadership sentiments.” 1:27 But that's a whole ’nother episode. 1:30 Anyway, what actually happened 1:31 with Trump and the One China Policy? 1:34 First, a brief recap of the One China Policy. 1:38 Basically, 1:39 after the Communist Party seized control of China 1:42 in 1949, 1:43 the previous Chinese government fled to Taiwan— 1:46 a government in exile. 1:48 Both sides claimed they were the true captain. 1:52 I'm your captain, Spock - can't you tell?! 1:53 Shoot! 1:54 Shoot! 1:56 And by captain, 1:57 I mean the legitimate government of China. 2:00 But rather than shooting, 2:01 the two Chinas came to a collective agreement 2:03 called the One China policy. 2:06 “Yeah, there’s only one China, 2:08 but we’re not going to say whether it’s the one in Taiwan 2:10 or the one in the mainland.” 2:13 Vague diplomatic ambiguity is the key 2:15 to successful international relations. 2:18 But it is kind of awkward— 2:20 because it’s forced the US and most other countries 2:23 to have official diplomatic relations 2:25 with only one of the two Chinas. 2:29 Kind of like when your two best friends in elementary school 2:31 made you pick which one was your real best friend. 2:34 No, Bobby, you can't have two best friends! 2:37 Pick me or pick him! 2:39 Most countries, including the US, 2:41 eventually picked mainland China, and not Taiwan. 2:45 Even though the US stills sells weapons to Taiwan every year. 2:50 But that’s a whole ’nother, ’nother episode. 2:52 Anyway, 2:53 Trump tossed the One China Policy into the air in December 2:57 when he spoke with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen 3:00 over the phone. 3:01 The first time a US president has done so 3:03 since the 70’s. 3:05 Then, he further shook the beehive by saying this. 3:09 I fully understand the One China Policy, 3:11 but I don’t know why we have to be bound 3:14 by a One China Policy 3:15 unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, 3:20 including trade… 3:21 To which Chinese state run media responded with, 3:23 he’s “playing with fire.” 3:26 Western media jumped on Trump for using Taiwan, 3:29 America’s ally, 3:31 as a bargaining chip with Beijing. 3:32 Fun fact: 3:34 Hillary Clinton had also considered using Taiwan 3:36 as a bargaining chip. 3:38 So Trump wasn't that different from Clinton here, 3:41 he was just more confrontational about it. 3:43 Because if you’re the US president, 3:45 you bargain with Taiwan's future. 3:47 It’s what you do. 3:50 But last week, 3:51 President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping 3:53 had a phone call. 3:54 And it was, 3:55 according to the White House, 3:57 “extremely cordial”— 3:59 and since it was over the phone, 4:00 presumably less awkward than this moment 4:02 with Japan’s prime minister. 4:05 Please, look at me. 4:11 Anyway, on the call Trump agreed 4:13 “to honor our ‘one China policy.’” 4:16 So Trump dropped his hardline stance. 4:19 Does that mean Trump is backing down? 4:22 Is he caving in? 4:24 Or is he giving China the upper hand? 4:27 Or maybe none of those. 4:30 As J Michael Cole, 4:31 editor in chief of Taiwan Sentinel, points out, 4:34 the White House statement says the US will 4:36 “honor our one China Policy.” 4:39 As I've pointed out in previous episodes, 4:41 America's One China Policy 4:43 is a bit different from China's One China policy. 4:46 America’s is that 4:48 “the U.S. acknowledges Beijing’s position 4:50 that there is only one China.” 4:53 Yeah, 4:53 the US acknowledges that Beijing 4:55 has that position. 4:57 It’s like me telling these guys, 4:59 “Yes, I acknowledge that you believe 5:01 that you’re a superhero.” 5:03 Once again, 5:04 vague diplomatic ambiguity saves the day. 5:07 This is a huge win for Chinese leader Xi Jinping, though. 5:11 This means that instead of fighting with Trump 5:13 over the One China issue, 5:15 he has more time to kick back, relax, 5:18 and continue his life-or-death struggle 5:19 to purge his political rivals. 5:21 In fact, Ming Chu-cheng, 5:23 a professor of political science 5:24 at National Taiwan University, 5:27 believes that the United States 5:28 has been quietly supportive of Xi Jinping 5:30 over the years, 5:32 and that “Donald Trump may, in honoring the ‘one China’ policy, 5:35 be reverting to the status quo.” 5:38 Trump? 5:39 Reverting to the status quo? 5:42 What’s going on in this crazy mixed-up world? 5:45 Well, lately the Trump family 5:47 has been trying to strengthen its China ties. 5:50 No, not those ties. 5:52 Before Trump was elected, 5:53 his son-in-law met with a major Chinese business tycoon 5:57 to discuss property development. 5:59 For the Chinese New Year, 6:01 Ivanka Trump and her 5-year-old daughter 6:02 paid a visit to the Chinese embassy. 6:05 Aww, she’s scared of the Chinese ambassador. 6:09 Then Trump’s national security advisor 6:12 hand delivers a letter from Trump to China’s ambassador 6:15 with new year’s wishes. 6:17 It said “he looks forward to working with President Xi 6:20 to develop a constructive relationship that benefits 6:23 both the United States and China.” 6:27 So maybe that US-China war isn’t “a practical reality” just yet. 6:33 So what do you think of Trump’s so-called 6:35 “caving in to the Chinese”? 6:37 Is that what’s happening? 6:39 Leave your comments below. 6:40 Thanks for watching this episode of China Uncensored. 6:43 Once again I’m your host Chris Chappell. 6:44 See you next time.
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