President-elect Donald Trump signaled Friday an openness to upending existing foreign policy on Russia and China, suggesting in a recent interview the possibility of lifting Russian sanctions and doing away with the “One China” policy.
Questioned by the Wall Street Journal about the sanctions on Russia implemented by the Obama administration last month, Mr. Trump said he could nix them if the foreign power was to assist the U.S. in fighting terrorists or in other ways.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he said in the Journal interview. But Mr. Trump said he plans to keep the sanctions -- the latest of which were a response to the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Kremlin directed hacks during the U.S. election -- in place for “at least a period of time.”
The president-elect acknowledged that Vladimir Putin has expressed interest in meeting with him after he takes office, and Mr. Trump said “that’s absolutely fine with me.”
Mr. Trump seemed to concede this week that Russia was behind the extensive cyberattacks on Democratic Party officials, telling reporters that “as far as hacking, I think it was Russia.”
But, he seemed to dismiss the import of Moscow’s actions, saying in his first press conference since the election that “I also think we’ve been hacked by other countries, other people.”
In the Journal’s wide-ranging interview, Mr. Trump also suggested that he was open to scrapping the “One China” policy, in which the U.S. recognizes the island nation of Taiwan as a part of “one China.”
When asked about the policy, Mr. Trump said “everything is under negotiation, including One China.”
On Saturday, China’s foreign ministry seemed to push back on the assessment, posting on its website that the “One China” principle was a non-negotiable political basis for China-U.S. relations. It also pushed “relevant parties” in the U.S. to recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue.
Since 1979, the United States has recognized Taiwan as a territory of China’s and not a sovereign nation, but in December, Mr. Trump broke protocol by taking a phone call with its president. China launched a diplomatic protest in response.