President-elect Donald J. Trump spoke by telephone with Taiwan’s president on Friday, a striking break with nearly four decades of diplomatic practice that could precipitate a major rift with China even before Mr. Trump takes office.
Mr. Trump’s office said he spoke with the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, “who offered her congratulations.”
He is believed to be the first president or president-elect who has spoken to a Taiwanese leader since 1979, when the United States severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan after its recognition of the People’s Republic of China.
…the potential fallout from the conversation was significant, the administration official said, noting that the Chinese government issued a bitter protest after the United States sold weapons to Taiwan as part of a well-established arms agreement.
Mr. Trump’s call with President Tsai is a far bigger provocation, though the Chinese government did not issue an immediate response. Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has adamantly opposed the attempts of any country to open official relations with it.
This comes after another story on Donald Trump making phone calls to world leaders which sounded more like a parody to diplomats seeing the read outs of his conversations:
President-elect Donald J. Trump inherited a complicated world when he won the election last month. And that was before a series of freewheeling phone calls with foreign leaders that has unnerved diplomats at home and abroad.
In the calls, he voiced admiration for one of the world’s most durable despots, the president of Kazakhstan, and said he hoped to visit a country, Pakistan, that President Obama has steered clear of during nearly eight years in office.
Mr. Trump told the British prime minister, Theresa May, “If you travel to the U.S., you should let me know,” an offhand invitation that came only after he spoke to nine other leaders. He later compounded it by saying on Twitter that Britain should name the anti-immigrant leader Nigel Farage its ambassador to Washington, a startling break with diplomatic protocol.
Mr. Trump’s unfiltered exchanges have drawn international attention since the election, most notably when he met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan with only one other American in the room, his daughter Ivanka Trump — dispensing with the usual practice of using State Department-approved talking points.
On Thursday, the White House weighed in with an offer of professional help. The press secretary, Josh Earnest, urged the president-elect to make use of the State Department’s policy makers and diplomats in planning and conducting his encounters with foreign leaders.
“President Obama benefited enormously from the advice and expertise that’s been shared by those who serve at the State Department,” Mr. Earnest said. “I’m confident that as President-elect Trump takes office, those same State Department employees will stand ready to offer him advice as he conducts the business of the United States overseas.”
“Hopefully he’ll take it,” he added…
In a remarkably candid readout of the phone call, the Pakistani government said Mr. Trump had told Mr. Sharif that he was “a terrific guy” who made him feel as though “I’m talking to a person I have known for long.” He described Pakistanis as “one of the most intelligent people.” When Mr. Sharif invited him to visit Pakistan, the president-elect replied that he would “love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people.”
The Trump transition office, in its more circumspect readout, said only that Mr. Trump and Mr. Sharif “had a productive conversation about how the United States and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future.” It did not confirm or deny the Pakistani account of Mr. Trump’s remarks.
The breezy tone of the readout left diplomats in Washington slack-jawed, with some initially assuming it was a parody. In particular, they zeroed in on Mr. Trump’s offer to Mr. Sharif “to play any role you want me to play to address and find solutions to the country’s problems.”
I imagine that it is better that he speak to world leaders than to tweet messages to them.
Trump might be a little less prone to saying foolish things if he hadn’t decided to ignore intelligence briefings since his election.