Trump says U.S. won’t end arms sales to Taiwan: report

U.S. President Donald Trump waves goodbye as he enters Air Force One after participating in the East Asia Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Manila, Philippines. Trump finished a five country trip through Asia visiting Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (CNA) – U.S. President Donald Trump made clear to Beijing last week that Washington will not end arms sales to Taiwan and will continue to furnish it with defensive weapons, a conservative online media outlet in the United States has reported.

Citing a senior White House official who took part in Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Beijing, the Washington Free Beacon said the Chinese side “obliquely” raised its opposition to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan during talks between the two presidents.

There were no discussions of issuing a fourth U.S.-China communique on Taiwan or talk of a “grand bargain” with China to resolve the Taiwan issue, the official told the Free Beacon.

“The president spoke of our one China policy based on the three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, so we’re going to continue providing defensive weapons commensurate with our obligations under the law,” the official was quoted as saying.

Trump arrived in China Nov. 8 as part of a 12-day Asian tour.

At a joint press conference the following day, neither Trump nor Xi mentioned Taiwan but according to China’s official Xinhua news agency, the issue was raised during the meeting between the two leaders.

“The Taiwan issue is the most important, most sensitive core issue in China-U.S. relations and is the political basis for the China-U.S. relationship,” Xi told Trump, according to Xinhua. “China hopes that the U.S. will continue to abide by the ‘one China’ principle.” In response, Trump assured Xi that the U.S. government would continue to uphold its “one China” policy, according to the Xinhua report.

At the joint press conference, Trump focused more on the North Korea issue, urging Xi to do more in that regard.

By Chiang Chin-ye and Y.F. Low