MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US President-elect Donald Trump's call with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen was merely a formal demonstration of courtesy, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Sunday.
"That was nothing more than taking a courtesy call and congratulations from the democratically elected leader of Taiwan," Pence told ABC News.
Trump spoke with Tsai on Friday in a move that broke with the White House’s four-decade-long policy on what Beijing considers its breakaway province.
Trump emphasized in a tweet the talks were not his initiative and added that President Tsai congratulated him on his November 8 victory.
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 декабря 2016 г.
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3 декабря 2016 г.
After Chinese Nationalist forces were defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communists, the Nationalist government moved to Taiwan in 1949. Since then, Beijing has viewed the self-ruled, democratic island as a breakaway province. The United States, along with many other countries, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and sticks officially to a "One China" position, but has kept informal relations with the island after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979.