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September 26, 2017

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Trump says 'One China' policy up for negotiation

US President-elect Donald Trump has said that the One China policy is "up for negotiation," in yet another comment certain to irk Beijing.

In an interview published by the Wall Street Journal late Friday, Trump was specifically asked if he supported the "one China" policy on Taiwan that has underpinned U.S. relations with Beijing for decades, Trump told the Journal: "Everything is under negotiation including One China."

The U.S. president-elect had already ratcheted up tensions with Beijing by accepting congratulatory telephone call from President Tsai Ing-wen shortly after his election victory in early December.

Trump's willingness to engage directly with Tsai was considered by Beijing to be a breach of the "one China" policy, which the U.S. has adhered to since switching diplomatic recognition to Taipei from Beijing in 1979.

He caused further upset in the aftermath of the call by asking why the U.S. had to adhere to the "one China" policy, given Washington's role as a major arms supplier to Taiwan.

In the interview, Trump again said: "We sold them US$2 billion of military equipment last year. We can sell them US$2 billion of the latest and greatest military equipment but we're not allowed to accept a phone call. First of all it would have been very rude not to accept the phone call."

During the election campaign Trump said he would label China a currency manipulator on the first day of taking office. The Chinese yuan has fallen steadily against the US dollar in recent years, with China accused of deliberately suppressing the value of its currency to make the country's exports more competitive.

Trump told the Journal he would stop short of officially branding China a manipulator but was critical of Beijing's financial policies and said: "Certainly they are manipulators".

"Instead of saying: 'We're devaluating our currency,' they say, 'oh, our currency is dropping'. It's not dropping. They're doing it on purpose.

"Our companies can't compete with them now because our currency is strong and it's killing us," Trump said.

When asked about the US sanctions against Russia, Trump said he would probably maintain some of the Obama administration's recent sanctions against Russia, although he adds that he might do away with them if Russia works with the U.S. on battling terrorists and achieving other goals.

"If Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions?"

President Barack Obama imposed the sanctions in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Trump also says he is open to meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after his inauguration.

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