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The right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board, a champion of free global trade, is crediting President-elect Trump with potentially giving the U.S. more leverage when it comes to making deals with China.

The Journal, which has been critical of Trump’s hardline campaign rhetoric against China and free trade, said that the president-elect may have made a shrewd move when he had a phone call last week with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

“[M]aybe it was calculated — and perhaps even useful,” the paper said in an editorial published Sunday night. “Trump Asia adviser Peter Navarro has advocated cabinet-level visits to Taiwan and an end to the U.S. bow to Beijing’s ‘one China’ policy, which insists that Taiwan is part of China and shouldn’t be treated as an independent state. Perhaps that goes too far, but it is past time for the U.S. to recalibrate its Taiwan policy.”

The Trump team said that the call was initiated by Tsai and that it was merely congratulatory, though a report on Sunday said the call was planned months in advance, before Trump was even the Republican nominee.



The call was a break in past protocol that has restricted past presidents from directly communicating with Taiwan’s top leader. Current U.S. policy is to recognize Taiwan as a dependent of China.

“President Obama had no success convincing China to rein in [rogue state North Korea], and Chinese officials walked all over him on his first visit in 2009,” the Journal said. “Mr. Trump’s tougher stance may prove to be a better opening move in the deal-making to come.”

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