China labels Trump call 'petty action' by Taiwan: Phoenix TV

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump appears at a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was a “petty action” by Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television reported.

The conversation was the first such contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China”.

“This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the ‘one China’ structure already formed by the international community,” Wang said at an academic forum, the station said.

“I believe that it won’t change the longstanding one China policy of the United States government. The ‘one China’ principle is the cornerstone of the healthy development of Sino-U.S. ties, and we hope this political basis is not interfered with or damaged in any way.”

Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan at the end of a civil war with the Communists in 1949, and Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring under its control what China views as a wayward province.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive policy issues, and China generally lambastes any form of official contact by foreign governments with Taiwan’s leaders.

China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, who won election in January, and believes she wants to push for the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing. Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo with China and wants peaceful relations.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie