US President Donald Trump told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that he will honour the “One China” policy that recognises Beijing as the only legitimate Chinese government, the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders spoke by phone on Thursday night, the statement said, their first phone conversation since Trump’s inauguration.

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour our ‘One China’ policy,” the statement said.

“Representatives of the United States and China will engage in discussions and negotiations on various issues of mutual interest.”

Trump accepted a call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after his election, breaking with the long-standing protocol.

He said that “Everything is under negotiation, including ‘One China'”.

The White House described the Thursday call as “lengthy” and “extremely cordial”, and said both men had extended invites to visit their respective countries, The Hill magazine reported.

The statement came shortly after the publication of a New York Times report that described China as “stung” by Trump’s call with Taiwan.

Officials told the daily that Xi would not agree to speak with Trump until after his public acknowledgment of the policy, which in effect cuts off official governmental ties with Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China.

China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway region. The policy was put in place under President Jimmy Carter, and he was the last president to speak with a Taiwanese leader.

The call comes one day before Trump is set to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington, after which they will play golf at Trump’s Palm Beach resort.

First Published | 10 February 2017 11:10 AM
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