Trump’s talk with Tsai on Friday was the first communication between a Taiwanese head of state and an American President-elect or President since the Taiwan Relations Act was passed in 1979, under US President Jimmy Carter.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed Taiwan for the conversation just hours after it happened, stating that, "This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the 'one China' structure already formed by the international community…I believe that it won't change the longstanding 'one China' policy of the United States government."
Trump balked at criticisms of his conversation with Tsai, tweeting: "The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!"
Since the "One China Principle" holds that Taiwan is a part of China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Tsai’s motivation for wanting to go through the US is "self-evident." China’s desire is that the US "does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces."
Taiwan has functioned as a sovereign nation since the late 1940’s, when nationalists fled to the island, having been defeated in the Chinese civil war by Mao Zedong’s communist forces.
Tsai understated the implications of her conversation with Trump, telling a group of US reporters Tuesday that, "I do not foresee major policy shifts in the near future because we all see the value of stability in the region."
A member of Trump’s transition team said it was "very unlikely" that Trump would meet with Tsai should she visited New York.
Tsai was reportedly planning on stopping in New York en route to South America, to visit El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala. Taipei’s Liberty Times newspaper said the Tsai’s visit has not been confirmed, but if allowed to stop in the US, she would want to meet with Trump’s cabinet, including chief of staff Reince Priebus.
On Tuesday US Vice President-elect Mike Pence told Fox News that Trump felt no remorse in talking to Tsai. He said, "(The) President-elect was fully aware of the one-China policy. He’s also very aware that the United States has sold billions of dollars in arms to Taiwan."
Pence added, "We have a unique relationship with that country that’s been defined over the decades since we’ve reopened relations with the People’s Republic of China but I think he felt it would be rude not to take the call."