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Trump, In Reversal, Tells Chinese Leader He Will Honor 'One China' Policy

Chinese President Xi Jinping

In a major reversal, U.S. President Donald Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping he will respect Beijing's "One China" policy in a phone call on February 9, the White House said.

The United States for decades has recognized Beijing as the only government of China but has maintained unofficial ties with Taiwan. Beijing has refused to recognize Taiwan, which has been ruled separately since the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

Trump for months had taken a hard line toward China, complaining about what he called unfair trade practices, and provoking Beijing's ire by accepting calls from Taiwan's president in what was seen as a breach of protocol.

But Trump signaled a change of heart on February 8 when he sent Xi a New Year's greeting saying he sought "to develop a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China."

The Chinese president, who had asked Trump during the lengthy phone call to honor the "One China" policy, afterwards expressed "appreciation" for Trump's affirmative response.

Xi called it the "political foundation of U.S.-China relations" and said he hopes now to "push bilateral relations to a historic new high."

The White House described the call as "extremely cordial" and said the two leaders had invited each other to visit.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters