Politico

Spicer on Trump's 'One China' agreement: 'The president always gets something'

Written by Lisa

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday declined to detail how President Donald Trump was convinced to back down from his threat to break from America’s tradition of recognizing the “One China” policy, but suggested that “the president always gets something” when he negotiates.

Trump recently agreed to recognize the policy, which stipulates that the self-governing island of Taiwan is part of China, in a phone call with China’s Xi Jinping, but that decision came after he had publicly questioned it.

After irking Beijing by holding a precedent-breaking phone call with Taiwan’s leader as president-elect, Trump had threatened to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip with China to gain leverage on issues like trade. (Since agreeing to the policy decades ago as a condition of establishing diplomatic relations with China, no sitting or incoming U.S. president before Trump had formally taken a phone call from his Taiwanese counterpart.)

At Monday’s daily press briefing, a reporter asked Spicer a leading question: Since he reaffirmed the “One China” policy, “What did he get in return from China for doing that?”

Spicer noted that Trump had spoken with China’s president and reaffirmed the policy at his request, but Spicer declined to offer more details, while suggesting that the decision did involve some negotiation. “The president is not one to discuss his negotiating tactics,” Spicer said.

“But did he get something?” the reporter followed up. “Can he assure the American people he got something?”

“The president always gets something,” Spicer responded.

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