World

Trump flip-flops, agrees to honour 'one China' policy

BEIJING/WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump changed tack and agreed to honour the longstanding "one China" policy during a phone call with China's leader, a major diplomatic boost for Beijing which brooks no criticism of its claim to neighbouring Taiwan.

Mr Trump angered Beijing in December by talking to the president of self-ruled Taiwan and saying the US did not have to stick to the policy where Washington acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of it.

A White House statement said Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a lengthy phone conversation on Thursday night Washington time. "President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour our 'one China' policy," the statement said.

The two leaders had not spoken on the phone since 
Mr Trump took office on Jan 20.

Diplomatic sources in Beijing say China had been nervous about Mr Xi being left humiliated in the event a call with Mr Trump went awry and the details were leaked to the media.

In a separate statement read out on Chinese state television, Mr Xi said China appreciated Mr Trump's upholding of the "one China" policy.

"I believe that the United States and China are cooperative partners, and through joint efforts, we can push bilateral relations to a historic new high," the statement cited Mr Xi as saying. - REUTERS

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