The Chinese government said there will be repercussions if the U.S. doesn't respect its "one-China" stance after President-elect Donald Trump questioned the longstanding policy.
"I fully understand the one-China policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump told Fox News, referring to the Chinese government's refusal to grant official independence to Taiwan and forcing it to remain a part of mainland China.
The Taiwanese government considers itself an independent nation, but few countries around the world acknowledge it out of deference to China.
The Chinese government published a sharp response to Trump in the state-run Global Times.
“The One China policy is not for selling,” the op-ed read. “Trump thinks that everything can be valued and, as long as his leverage is strong enough, he can sell or buy. If a price can be put on the US Constitution, will the American people sell their country's constitution and implement the political systems of Saudi Arabia or Singapore?”
The article went on to accuse Trump of being naive of how the U.S. government is supposed to act towards China, or else China might retaliate:
Trump needs to learn to handle foreign affairs modestly, especially the China-US relationship. More importantly, a hard struggle against Trump is needed to let him know that China and other world powers cannot be easily taken advantage of.
If Trump gave up the One China policy, publicly supported Taiwan independence and wantonly sold weapons to Taiwan, China would have no grounds to partner with Washington on international affairs and contain forces hostile to the US. In response to Trump's provocations, Beijing could offer support, even military assistance to US foes.
Although China warned Trump should not “wantonly” sell weapons to Taiwan, the Obama administration finalized a $1.83 billion weapons deal with the government of Taiwan in December 2015.
"U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are guided by the Taiwan Relations Act and based on an assessment of Taiwan's defense needs," said David McKeeby, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, according to CNN.
"Our longstanding policy on arms sales to Taiwan has been consistent across six different U.S. administrations," said McKeeby. "We believe our consistent policy has contributed to the security of Taiwan, and has also supported the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."