Andrea Mitchell on Taiwan Phone Call: Now, China Will Think, ‘We Have Got to Arm Ourselves’ [VIDEO]

The media’s been making a huge deal about Trump accepting a congratulatory call from Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen. (Of course, ironically, the same media had sung President Obama’s praises when he reached out to Cuba’s dictator.) And now they’re implicating Mike Pence into the mess because the VP-elect referred to Tsai Ing-wen as the “President of Taiwan.” (*gasp*) According to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, that’s a “no-no.” We’re not supposed to recognize Taiwan as a separate country, independent from China. Our policy is to recognize “one China,” and the island of Taiwan is part of China.

Not only will China be “looking at Donald Trump in a very different way” because of this scandalous phone call, according to Mitchell, now real China will be thinking, “We have got to arm ourselves.” As if China isn’t already armed to the teeth.

Chuck Todd: Andrea, let’s start with this kerfuffle. Why isn’t Donald Trump’s tweet about this right? We gave all this money to Taiwan and everybody makes a big deal over a phone call. The average American sitting out there going, this seems like the typical Washington kerfuffle that means nothing to my life. Why are they wrong?

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Andrea Mitchell: It won’t mean anything until something goes really, really bad with China, either economically or militarily. 

Look, this is arguably the most important relationship that the U.S. has. There has been no call, no conversation — it doesn’t matter who made the call. The point is the conversation happened. And even here someone as careful as Mike Pence referred to her as the President of Taiwan.

Todd: That’s a no no?

Mitchell: That’s a no no. The ‘One China’ policy devised by Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, articulated and finalized by Jimmy Carter, it has been bipartisan. The Chinese are ripped, but they are trying to seize — they will seize on what Mike Pence just said. 

It was one of 50 calls, it was a courtesy call. Try to move on in a certain way. But they are looking at Donald Trump in a very different way. They were hoping this is a guy — this is a businessman, we can do business with him. This is not Barack Obama who is going to bludgeon us over human rights. And they really had an open mind and now their first signal is, ‘Wow, this is a new relationship and we have got to arm ourselves.’

I think this whole thing is rather silly. Trump brought up a very important point immediately following the media’s initial overreaction. The U.S. has sold nearly $50 billion worth of military arms to Taiwan since 1990. But Trump accepts a phone call from Taiwan, and all of a sudden, China thinks, “We have got to arm ourselves?”

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Philip Hodges

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