Obama's Former National Security Adviser: Trump's Taiwan Call Isn't a Big Deal

Posted: Dec 06, 2016 3:00 PM

President-elect Donald Trump’s call with Taiwan’s president had some concerned that it would cause friction between the U.S. and China, but President Obama’s former national security adviser said the move shouldn’t be seen as a big deal.

“That didn't bother me,” retired Marine Corps General Jim Jones said in an interview with Fox News. “I think the purists are flapping their wings and saying all kinds of things. Why they can't have a five minute conversation or whatever it was to say congratulations doesn't make a lot of sense to me.”

“I think the Trump administration will have to find whatever the right course is, and the right things during their administration, but I wouldn't prejudge what that would be right now,” he continued. “He's not the president of the United States right now, he's the president-elect. He's talking to a lot of people around the world and that's not necessarily a bad thing.”

Trump is the first president or president-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader since the United States broke-off relations with Taiwan in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter, when his administration established formal relations with Beijing, marking the start of the one-China policy. […]

Critics were outraged that Trump had broken decades-long policy by speaking with Taiwan’s president. When asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday if he thought Trump was speaking to the leader of a sovereign nation, Trump’s future chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said, “He knew exactly what was happening. But look, we have a lot of problems to solve in this country, and we’re not going to solve them by just making believe that people don’t exist. This is not a massive deviation of our policy.”

Since the Chinese civil war in the 1940s, China and Taiwan have been ruled separately. China claims sovereignty over the island.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met with China’s Xi JinPing on Friday and said he was “impressed” by their “calm” reaction to the call.

Jones said people need to “lighten up” about the situation.

“I think the policy is fine,” he said. “I think we should lighten up a little bit about the importance of phone calls and signals that may or may not have been sent. I think policy is pretty stable and the Chinese relationship is very important.”

The White House on Monday confirmed that U.S. officials had been in touch with their Chinese counterparts to “reiterate our country’s continued commitment to one-China policy,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.