Uh, Mr. President, it’s Taiwan that’s the ‘Republic of China’

Donald J. Trump’s White House staff apparently has a lot to learn about geopolitics.

He left the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany and then issued some sort of statement that referred to the People’s Republic of China as the “Republic of China.”

To quote Energy Secretary Rick Perry: Oops!

I hate to be a stickler for details, but the Republic of China is the official name of Taiwan, the island nation that broke away from the People’s Republic of China in 1949 after a bloody civil war mounted against the ROC government by the communists led by Mao Tse-Tung.

Here’s the deal, Mr. President. The ROC isn’t recognized by the United States. We broke off relations with Taiwan in 1978 when we formally recognized the communist government in Beijing. We have this thing called a “One-China Policy” that prevents us from recognizing both nations.

I’m no expert on China-Taiwan relations, although I’ve had the honor of visiting Taiwan five times over many years. I’ve gotten the Taiwanese side of the story as it has evolved since the founding of its government.

The PRC is one government; the ROC is another. The president’s statement stepped mightily on the toes of both nations. The one that likely smarts the most is Taiwan, which struggles to maintain its place among the worldwide family of nations. Hey, it’s a vibrant, bustling country that has established its own identity during the past 67 years.

You might recall that shortly after being inaugurated, Trump took a phone call from Taiwan’s president, engaging in the first head of state conversation with that nation since we ended diplomatic relations. It was a no-no. The president later affirmed that the United States remains committed to its One-China Policy and that we won’t extend diplomatic relations to Taiwan.

To his credit, Trump sought to make nice with the PRC’s president, Xi Jinping, by referring to the trade relations between the United States and the PRC.

However, the White House communications staffer who blundered with the erroneous statement and then put Donald Trump’s name on it needs a rudimentary lesson in Far East geopolitics.

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