(CNN) — President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the President of Taiwan on Friday, according to a statement from his transition team, in a move that threatens to trigger a diplomatic showdown with China even before he takes office.
The move, which is certain to incense China, which considers the nationalist island to be a renegade province, is the first major sign of the “unpredictability” that Trump has vowed to bring to US relations with the rest of the world.
“President-elect Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, who offered her congratulations. During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties exists between Taiwan and the United States. President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year.”
Trump’s conversation marks the first publicly reported call between a US President or President-elect and the leader of Taiwan since Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979, said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.