White House Says US-Taiwan Ties Limited, But Contacts, Joint Work Persist

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US-Taiwan relations have for years operated within certain limits but still allow for some degree of communication and partnership, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has never renounced the possibility of using military force to reunite the island with the mainland.

"The relationship between the United States and Taiwan is an unofficial one, but it is not frozen," Earnest said. "After all, Taiwan is the ninth-largest trade partner of the United States."

FILE - This combination of two photos shows U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, left, speaking during a USA Thank You tour event in Cincinatti Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, delivering a speech during National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 - Sputnik International
US State Dept. Was Unaware of Trump's Phone Conversation With Taiwan President
On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump received a congratulatory phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan on Trump’s victory in the US election last month. After the call, Trump’s transition team announced that the two had discussed economic, political and security ties between Washington and Taipei.

Earnest stressed that even though outgoing President Barack Obama has not had official contact with Tsai since her election in May, several US officials are in touch with Taiwan’s government on a regular basis.

Trump is the first US president or president-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader in an official capacity since the United States severed ties with the island in 1979 in favor of recognizing the government in Beijing as the only Chinese state.

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