Donald Trump should not worry about insulting China and if Beijing objects to him speaking to Taiwan, screw em, an economic adviser to the US president-elect has said.
Stephen Moore, chief economist of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, said Mr Trump was right to risk China’s displeasure by speaking on the phone with the president of Taiwan, which the Chinese regard as a breakaway province.
He said: “Too many namby-pamby people in the foreign policy shop are saying Oh my gosh we can’t do this, we might insult the Chinese.’ I don’t care if we insult the Chinese.
“Taiwan is our ally. That is a country that we have backed because they believe in freedom. We ought to back our ally, and if China doesn’t like it, screw ’em.”
Mr Moore added: “We see what’s happening in China the way they’re sabre rattling out there in the East, it’s about time we do what Reagan did, we stand up to these bullies.”
His comments came after Mr Trump stoked a diplomatic row by accusing Beijing of currency manipulation and flexing its muscles in the South China Sea.
He also became the first US president or president-elect since 1979 to speak by phone with a leader of Taiwan, talking with President Tsai Ing-wen. The US does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation.
The White House said Mr Trump’s Taiwan phone call could “undermine” US relations with China.
Josh Earnest, President Barack Obama’s spokesman, said efforts had been made to reassure Chinese officials.
It came as Mr Trump, who once claimed climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese, appeared to reverse course dramatically on that issue as he met with Al Gore, the environmental activist and former US Vice President.
Mr Gore, who has devoted his time since leaving office to the issue, praised the businessman for what he called a “sincere” discussion.
He said: “I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued.”
Mr Gore had gone to Trump Tower in New York for what was expected to be a meeting with the billionaire’s daughter Ivanka, who reportedly wants to make climate change a signature issue in her role as first daughter.
But Mr Gore, who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change campaigning, said he spent the bulk of his time there talking to the president-elect.
The decision to meet Mr Gore appeared at odds with views previously expressed by Mr Trump.
In 2012 Mr Trump said: The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.