President Donald Trump agreed to honor the longstanding “one China” policy in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a major diplomatic boost for Beijing which brooks no criticism of its claim to neighboring Taiwan.

The following are some of the major developments in U.S.-Sino relations since Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November.


Dec 2 – Trump speaks by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, a move that is likely to infuriate China, which considers the self-ruled island its own, and complicate U.S. relations with Beijing. China lodges swift protest, blaming Taiwan for the petty move.

Dec 11 – Trump says the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of “one China,” questioning nearly four decades of U.S. policy.

Dec 12 – China expresses “serious concern” after Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-held stance that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

Dec 14 – In a veiled warning to Trump, China’s ambassador to the United States says Beijing will never bargain with Washington over issues involving its national sovereignty or territorial integrity.

Jan 11 – Taiwan scrambles jets and navy ships after a group of Chinese warships, led by its sole aircraft carrier, sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the latest sign of heightened tension between Beijing and the island.

Jan 12 – Trump’s then nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, says China should be denied access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea, describing the placing of military assets there as “akin to Russia’s taking Crimea” from Ukraine.

Feb 3 – China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, tells Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, that China hopes it can work with the United States to manage and control disputes and sensitive problems.

Feb 9 – Trump breaks the ice with Xi in a letter that says he looks forward to working with him to develop relations.

Feb 9 – Trump changes tack and agrees to honor the “one China” policy during a phone call with Xi.

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