Donald Trump risks opening up a major diplomatic dispute with China before he has even been inaugurated after speaking on the phone on Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan.
The telephone call, confirmed by four people, is believed to be the first between a US president or president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since diplomatic relations between the two were cut in 1979.
Although it is not clear if the Trump transition team intended the conversation to signal a broader change in US policy towards Taiwan, the call is likely to infuriate Beijing which regards the island as a renegade province.
The US has adopted the so-called “One China” policy since 1972 after the Nixon-Mao meetings and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter formally recognised Beijing as the sole government of China, with the US embassy closing in Taipei the year after.
The Trump team did not initially respond to multiple requests for comment, but after the FT first published news of the call confirmed that the president-elect had spoken with Ms Tsai and “noted the close economic, political, and security ties” between Taiwan and the United States.
Keep this in mind, pump truppets. When the missiles start flying, “Duck and Cover” doesn’t work, no matter what your brainwasher-elect says.