China media: Trump 'playing with fire' on Taiwan

A newspaper headline with the illustration of US President-elect Donald Trump is pictured next to the flag of Taiwan in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 December 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption China has been angered by Mr Trump's comments on the One China policy concerning Taiwan

A Chinese state-owned paper has blasted Donald Trump for "playing with fire" after the US president-elect appeared to question the One China policy again.

The broadside by China Daily is the latest in a series of rebukes by China's government and state media.

Mr Trump said in an interview on Friday that the policy was negotiable.

Under the longstanding policy, the US recognises Beijing as the only Chinese government, while maintaining an unofficial relationship with Taiwan.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and opposes its independence.

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Mr Trump has questioned this arrangement, most recently in an interview with the Wall Street Journal where he said "everything is under negotiation including One China".

China Daily said in an unusually strongly-worded editorial on Monday that Mr Trump was "playing with fire with his Taiwan game".

It said his latest comments appeared to show he intended to use the One China policy as a "trump card" and "bargaining chip".

"If Trump is determined to use this gambit on taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves," it said.

Image copyright China Daily
Image caption State-owned newspaper China Daily departed from its usual sober tone with its editorial

The editorial follows other Chinese warnings made over the weekend in reaction to Mr Trump's latest remarks.

On Saturday evening, China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the One China policy was "non-negotiable".

"The government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China... That is the fact acknowledged by the international community and no one can change (it)."

An Fengshan, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, also said that any change could mean "the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will be seriously impacted".

A commentary by the hawkish Global Times newspaper called Mr Trump "inexperienced and complacent", adding: "In the past, Trump infuriated us, but now we find him risible."

It warned that Mr Trump would meet "strong countermeasures" should he change the policy, including moves to "speed up Taiwan reunification and mercilessly combat" Taiwan independence advocates.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen spoke to Mr Trump last month in a historic phone call

Mr Trump stunned observers in December when he accepted a phone call from Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen, the first involving a US president or president-elect in decades.

He then questioned the One China policy in a Fox News interview that same month.

The Chinese government's official reactions so far have been marked by restraint, urging Mr Trump and the US to maintain healthy ties with China and dismissing the phone call as a "petty trick" perpetrated by Taiwan.

But state media have been more openly critical of Mr Trump and have warned of serious action by Beijing.

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