Ryan: Trump right to accept phone call from Taiwan’s president

Ryan: Trump right to accept phone call from Taiwan’s president

House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (TMN file photo)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump was justified in accepting a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen last week.

“It’s prudent for him to take congratulatory calls — absolutely,” Ryan told reporters gathered at the Republican National Committee. “I spoke with the president of Taiwan when she was transferring planes in Miami a couple months ago. It is prudent for the President-elect to take congratulatory calls.”

“I think there’s a lot of much ado about nothing about this,” Ryan said. “I think for him to not take a congratulatory call would in and of itself be considered a snub so i think everything is fine.”

Ing-wen called Trump on Dec. 2 to congratulate him for defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Some political pundits have said the President-elect’s decision to engage Taiwan, even in such an informal manner, might have a negative impact on U.S.-Chinese relations.

The territorial integrity of tiny yet prosperous island has remained a subject of controversy since the creation of the Communist-led Peoples Republic of China in 1949.

Following the Communist revolution, factions loyal to the previous regime fled the Chinese mainland in an attempt to establish an independent free-market nation on the island.

Attempts by Taiwanese representatives to receive international recognition as a sovereign state have repeatedly been denied and Beijing considers the island to be part of greater China.

Prior to Dec. 2, the last American president to engage a Taiwanese president was Jimmy Carter in 1979.

The call sparked backlash in mainland China.

“The Chinese side has lodged solemn representations with the relevant party on the U.S. side both in Beijing and Washington,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said during Monday’s press briefing, according to a transcript of the event. “China has got its message across to the world as a whole with regard to Taiwan-related issues. The U.S. side, President-elect Trump’s team included, is also fully aware of China’s solemn attitude on the issue.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said Monday the call did not represent a change in U.S. relations toward Taiwan and the “One China” policy.

“In the past, presidents-elect have consulted with secretaries of state or subject matter experts within the State Department before making these kinds of calls,” Toner said. “It’s not necessary. It’s not mandatory. It does allow them to perspective on policy issues by people who have been intimately involved in these issues for some period of time.“

White House press secretary Josh Earnest, citing a Washington Post article alleging that the call was planned and meant to disrupt the current status of U.S.-China relations, said Monday it was unclear what benefit a shift in policy would have for the U.S., China or Taiwan.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who is reportedly being considered for Trump’s Secretary of State, said in an interview with Fox News’ “Outnumbered” Monday that the call is not “as big a deal as some people think.”

“I think we’re going to see other indications that Donald Trump is not going to follow the policies of the past eight years or maybe longer. You know, that’s why we have elections,” he told the network.

Following the call, Trump issued a series of tweets in which he justified agreeing to speak with Ing-wen:

Ryan on Tuesday dodged a question inquiring as to whether he believes Trump has gotten out of his control, vis-a-vis his recent Twitter use.

“I’m not going to get into tweets,” Ryan said. “You think I’m going to sit here and comment on the daily tweets? I’m just not going to be doing that.”

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