White House

White House confirms Trump's agreement to honor 'One China' policy

What is the 'One China Policy'?
What is the 'One China Policy'?

A White House statement confirmed a Thursday night report that President Donald Trump had agreed to honor China's "One China" policy in his first call with the country's president.

"President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China had a lengthy telephone conversation on Thursday evening. The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our 'one China' policy," The White House said in a statement.

"Representatives of the United States and China will engage in discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest. The phone call between President Trump and President Xi was extremely cordial, and both leaders extended best wishes to the people of each other's countries. They also extended invitations to meet in their respective countries. President Trump and President Xi look forward to further talks with very successful outcomes."

China state-run news agency Xinhua reported in Chinese that Trump told Xi he believed that the two nations could promote bilateral relationships to a "historical high level."

Earlier, Trump had attracted criticism from China for saying that the U.S. did not necessarily have to stick to the "One China" policy.

China's foreign ministry responded at the time that it was extremely concerned with Trump's comments, with spokesman Geng Shuang telling reporters that the policy was the basis of relations between the world's two largest economies.

The government's official response came after the Communist Party-owned paper, Global Times, published an opinion piece with the headline: "Trump, please listen clearly, the One China policy cannot be traded" as it warned Trump that China cannot "be easily bullied."

"If Trump abandons the one-China principle, why should China need to be U.S.' partner in most international affairs?" said the paper, which is known for its extreme nationalistic views.

Most would think Trump is "ignorant like a child" in handling diplomacy, the paper added.

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—Reuters and CNBC's Huileng Tan contributed to this report.