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Ex-Bush 43 Diplomat Rips Trump's Taiwan Call: 'Tendency to Wing It'

Ex-Bush 43 Diplomat Rips Trump's Taiwan Call: 'Tendency to Wing It'

Donald Trump (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 02 December 2016 08:51 PM

A top diplomat to former President George W. Bush Friday ripped Donald Trump for his telephone conversation with the president of Taiwan, saying that it further evidenced the president-elect's "tendency to wing it."

"Obviously, he should not have" talked with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Christopher Hill told Erin Burnett on CNN. "We've had for 40 years rather clear policies on how to implement the one-China policy.

"Eight years of the Reagan administration this never happened. Four years of the [George H.W.] Bush administration. Eight years of [Bill] Clinton. Eight years of George W. Bush — and eight years of [Barack] Obama. This is a real break."

"Obviously, it was an example of what is all too often happening now with this incoming administration: This tendency to wing it," Hill said.

Under Bush 43, Hill served as assistant secretary of state for East Asia. He also was U.S. ambassador to Iraq under President Obama, and he held in diplomatic posts in the Clinton White House.

Hill told Burnett that Trump will most likely "double-down" in defending the call amid any attacks from many critics.

"What I'm concerned about is that rather than acknowledge a mistake, they will double down on it — say that this is, indeed, an effort to change some of the terms of our one-China policy.

"It is a huge mistake," Hill added. "We have a lot of stuff going on with China: South China Seas, North Korea.

"We don't need this right now."

He also vented his outrage on Twitter:

In addition, Winston Lord, former U.S. ambassador to China and former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said that the strategic importance of Trump's move was unclear.

"Like so many things with Trump, who knows?" Lord said. "This man is ignorant about foreign policy and is flying by the seat of his pants, so it is difficult to assess the significance.

"Having said that, I have no problem with his talking to Madame Tsai," he added. "Taiwan is a good friend — and although our relations are unofficial, I think it's important to maintain close bonds with Taiwan."

Douglas Paal, a former official of the U.S. National Security Council who served as U.S. representative to Taiwan from 2002 to 2006, said nothing Trump had said during the campaign suggested that he wanted to rebuild the relationship with Taiwan at China's expense.

"From the information I have so far, this is a standalone item, but the Chinese will feel the need to make a major protest so there isn’t more of this."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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A top diplomat to former President George W. Bush Friday ripped Donald Trump for his telephone conversation with the president of Taiwan, saying that it further evidenced the president-elect's "tendency to wing it."
bush 43, diplomat, rips, trump, taiwan, call
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2016-51-02
Friday, 02 December 2016 08:51 PM
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