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WASHINGTON — By calling Taiwan’s president Friday, President-elect Donald Trump broke a 37-year precedent that limited direct talks with a U.S. president or president-elect and the leader of the island nation off the coast of China.

“President-elect Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, who offered her congratulations,” a Trump transition team statement released Friday said. “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.”

No U.S. president has spoken directly to a Taiwanese leaders since 1979, when President Jimmy Carter announced full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and ended relations with Taiwan.

Later Friday evening Trump tweeted about the call in an attempt to clarify who made the call.

And he expressed annoyance at the diplomatic subtleties that permit the U.S. sale of military equipment to Taiwan but eschew communications like a congratulatory call.

The White House immediately responded to the Trump phone call, emphasizing that there has been no change to the longstanding, bipartisan U.S. policy.

“We remain firmly committed to our ‘one China’ policy,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for President Obama’s National Security Council. “Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations.”

It is the second call this week in which Trump risked a diplomatic rift by talking to a foreign leader. On Wednesday, he spoke with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he praised as a great leader. A longtime U.S. ally, Pakistan has also been the source of frustration for U.S. leaders because of its nuclear weapons program and long rivalry with India, with which it has fought three major wars since 1947.



Article Courtesy of Twitter, USA Today, and WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland

Picture Courtesy of Ty Wright and Getty Images

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