Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, an adviser to the Trump campaign and transition, said on Monday there’s nothing reckless about President-elect Donald Trump taking a congratulatory phone call from the leader of Taiwan, even if it upset Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of “one China.”
Hoekstra, a former chair of the House intelligence committee, told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly that Trump is doing exactly what the Republican Party platform calls for and what he said on the campaign trail — that his administration will be tough on China.
“We’ve had a failed policy for eight years with China. There are cyber-attacks against us, millions of Americans’ personal data is compromised. They’re building these islands in the South China Sea, then claiming territorial rights. There are unfair trade practices. And one place we really need their help is North Korea,” Hoekstra said.
“This just says, things are going to be different; there is a new sheriff in town. And we’re going to stand up to China — we’re going to stand up to you, we’re going to demand a change.
“This is the exact thing our allies in the region are looking for. I’ve talked to the Japanese, I’ve talked to the South Koreans. They recognize that our policy has failed, and that we need to come together for a new policy toward China.”
Both the White House and State Department took multiple questions Monday about Trump’s contact with the leader of Taiwan, which is the United States’ ninth largest trading partner.
Even so, the U.S. has maintained decades of deference to China, breaking diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 as the price for doing business with China.
Since 1979, no U.S. president or president-elect has had direct contact with Taiwan’s leaders. All informal contact is at lower levels of government, and that’s what happened after Trump took the phone call from Taiwan this past Friday.