China state media blasted U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump after he told The Wall Street Journal the “one-China” policy is negotiable.

The China Daily said Monday Trump is reinforcing the impression that he intends to use Taiwan as a bargaining chip in relations with Beijing. It warned the result would be “a period of fierce, damaging interactions,” as Beijing will have no choice but to “take the gloves off.”

Taiwan expert Bruce Jacobs of Australia’s Monash University told VOA the Chinese reaction is what one might have expected.

“You would expect them to say that. One could argue that’s a negotiating term. It depends on how the Trump government decides to move forward,” he said.

“The arguments that the Chinese would use are that the breaking of relations with Taiwan was part of the deal that was done so the United States could establish relations with China. But in fact, it wasn’t quite so clear cut and as I’ve said Taiwan is now a democratic nation, which has never really being ruled by China; never been ruled by the people’s Republic of China,” Jacobs added.

The Global Times on Sunday dismissed Trump as a rookie who will meet strong countermeasures if he impairs the “one-China” principle. The paper said the mainland will be prompted to speed up Taiwan reunification as a result of “this despicable strategy.”

Jacobs said mainland China today is nationalistic and pushing hard against Taiwan and in the South China Sea, which adds to global tensions and gives the Chinese military leverage to push for ever-higher defense budgets.

“I think he [Trump] is right in saying the one china policy should be discussed, because it’s based on false history. But there is also a couple of other things which were false about it such as saying the United States recognizes that Taiwan is part of China. That’s not true,” Jacobs said.

The United States, he added, recognizes that China claims Taiwan belongs to it.

“So in that aspect I think what Trump is done is raised an important issue that needs to reconsidered. But for him to say that Taiwan should be a bargaining chip in some training negotiations is completely wrong and illegitimate. Taiwan is a separate nation. It’s a middle size nation. And it should not be coming a bargaining chip,” Jacobs added.

mm

Voice of America (VOA) is the largest U.S. international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of 236.6 million people. VOA produces content for digital, television, and radio platforms. It is easily accessed via your mobile phone and on social media. It is also distributed by satellite, cable, FM and MW, and is carried on a network of more than 2300 affiliate stations.