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April 29, 2017

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Trump-Xi meeting will not involve trade-off on Taiwan: official

Washington -- A White House official on Wednesday gave an assurance that an upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not involve a trade-off on the Taiwan issue.

Trump had already reaffirmed in February the United States' "one China" policy, which is consistent with the three U.S.-China communiques and U.S. obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), said Matt Pottinger, senior director for Asia at the National Security Council.

"I can say that there is no such thing as some kind of a trade along the lines of what you just mentioned, though," he said in a briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C., in response to a question on the possibility that Xi might want Trump to abide by the "one China" principle in exchange for China's cooperation on the North Korea issue.

Asked if Trump will discuss the "one China" policy with Xi, Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said the Chinese may raise the issue, although Trump is probably not going to raise it.

In the Trump-Xi phone conversation and in subsequent high-level meetings between U.S. and Chinese officials, the U.S. side has reaffirmed its longstanding "one China" policy, which is based on the three joint China-U.S. communiques and the TRA, Thornton said.

Washington has also made it clear that it stands by all the commitments that it has undertaken in the context of the TRA, she said.

"So I don't think that there's going to be any lack of clarity on what our 'one China' policy is in the context of the meeting upcoming," she added.

Trump is scheduled to host Xi for a summit Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The meeting would be their first since Trump took office in January.

In his first phone conversation with Xi in February, Trump committed himself to honoring the "one China" policy at Xi's request, after having suggested in December that U.S. backing for the policy might be contingent on a trade deal with Beijing.

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