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White House Criticizes Trump's Taiwan Phone Call

The White House is seeking to reassure China after President-elect Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

The call stirred controversy with China as the United States does not formally have a relationship with Taiwan, which China treats a breakaway territory.

China issued a diplomatic complaint in response, BBC News reports. 

White House officials informed China of their "continued commitment to a one-China policy."

After the phone call, Trump posted two tweets in which he heavily criticized China's monetary policy and its South China Sea operations.

The President-elect's transition team is officially calling Tsai's phone call a "courtesy," the Daily Mail reports. 

On Dec. 5, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest stated it was "hard to determine exactly what the aim was" behind the president-elect's taking of the call.

But he said American policy on Taiwan had "been in place for nearly 40 years, and it has been focused on promoting and preserving peace and stability."

"The adherence to and commitment to this policy has advanced the ability of the United States to make progress in our relationship with China and, of course, has benefited the people of Taiwan," said Earnest.

However, Earnest warned there might be consequences to the gesture. 

"Some of the progress that we have made in our relationship with China could be undermined by this issue flaring up," Earnest said.

The Taiwanese people may not be helped by the gesture, the results of which are still "unclear," he stated. Trump's act led China to "ratchet up" its rhetoric against Taiwan, the ninth most important trading partner of the United States. 

"These are significant issues," he said, "and worthy of careful consideration."

Beijing considers Taiwan as a province and denies it the privileges of an independent state. It has pledged to use force to keep Taiwan in line if the territory officially declares independence. 

The United States does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country and the two have no official diplomatic relations, but it also does not subscribe to Beijing's claim over Taiwan.

Focusing on a "win-win" approach is the main policy of the U.S. and China, said China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.

"To maintain such sound momentum of development, it will take both sides to work together on the basis of upholding major principles in bilateral relations," he said.

Sources: The Daily Mail, BBC News / Photo credit: Fox News via Deadline

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