From Pakistan to Taiwan, Trump’s phone calls upsetting diplomacy: NYT

This handout picture shows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe being welcomed by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (right) as his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner (left) look on in New York on November 17, 2016. Instead of inviting State Department officials for meeting the Japanese leader as protocol demands, Mr. Trump preferred to invite his own daughter and her husband for the meeting.   | Photo Credit: HO

United States President-elect Donald Trump’s call to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could “upset the delicate balance” of India-Pakistan ties, the New York Times said as it sounded a critical tone of him breaking decades of diplomatic practice in freewheeling calls with foreign leaders.

“President-elect Donald J. Trump has broken with decades of diplomatic practice in freewheeling calls with foreign leaders,” the daily said as the next leader of the U.S. upset the status quo in his conversations with world leaders.

In an unprecedented break from diplomatic practice and a move that could irk China, Mr. Trump spoke with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, becoming the first President or President-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader since at least 1979, when Washington had severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan as part of its recognition of China.

His call to ‘terrific’ Sharif

On November 30, Mr. Trump spoke with Mr. Sharif, who according to a Pakistani government readout of their call, invited Mr. Trump to visit the south Asian country. The readout said Mr. Trump had called Pakistan a “fantastic” country full of “fantastic” people that he “would love” to visit as President.

The President-elect had also called Mr. Sharif as “terrific” and Pakistanis “are one of the most intelligent people,” according to the Pakistani readout which added that Mr. Trump said he “is ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”

“Should Trump follow through, he risks alienating India, which sees Pakistan as a major antagonist, and appearing to reward Pakistan’s behaviour; should he renege, he risks upsetting Pakistani leaders who are sensitive about perceived American intransigence. Either way, the call could upset the delicate balance of India-Pakistan ties, which the U.S. has struggled to manage amid a history of wars and recent skirmishes,” the New York Times said.

Not tactful this

On Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Tsai, NYT said the call “risks infuriating China,” which considers Taiwan a breakaway province governed by Chinese rebels.

“By honouring the Taiwanese President with a formal call, Mr. Trump’s transition team implicitly suggests that it considers Taiwan an independent state,” it said, noting that the U.S. has declined to recognise Taiwan since 1979, when it shifted recognition to the government in Beijing. Taiwan itself has yet to declare formal independence.

Mr. Trump had tweeted, “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency.”

Chat with ‘abusive’ Duterte

In a December 2 conversation with Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, Mr. Trump invited him to visit Washington.

The daily said Mr. Duterte has been accused of gross human rights abuses, had used abusive language against President Barack Obama and declared his country’s “separation” from the U.S. during a recent trip to Beijing.

“Honoring Duterte with a presidential invitation implies the U.S. approval of his behavior, which Obama’s administration had been working to curb,” NYT said.

Effusive in praise for Nazarbayev

Mr. Trump also praised Kazakhstan’s leader Nursultan Nazarbayev for “fantastic success,” in tones that suggest approval for Mr. Nazarbayev’s strongman rule.

According to the Kazakh government’s readout of the call, Mr. Trump “stressed that under the leadership of Nursultan Nazarbayev, our country over the years of independence had achieved fantastic success that can be called a miracle.”

The NYT further said that after brushing off the United Kingdom, Mr. Trump offered a casual invitation to British Prime Minister Theresa May.

‘His meeting Farage a slap to May’

“If you travel to the U.S. you should let me know,” he told her, far short of a formal invitation. Mr. Trump also met with Nigel Farage, former leader of the fringe UK Independence Party — a “slap to May,” NYT said.

Mr. Trump later said that Mr. Farage should become the British Ambassador to the U.S., though presidents typically avoid telling foreign counterparts how to staff their governments, NYT added.

In another break from diplomatic protocol, Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump had joined his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Why invite daughter for Abe meet?

NYT has said why such a move matters is that rather than inviting State Department officials to staff his meeting with Mr. Abe, Mr. Trump invited his daughter.

“The meeting alarmed diplomats, who worried that Trump lacked preparation after a long record of criticizing Japan. It also blurred the line between Trump’s businesses, which [his daughter] helps run, and the U.S. government, with which she has no role,” it said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 7:54:12 PM |

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