At a White House press conference today, spokesman Josh Earnest called on President-elect Donald Trump to take recourse to the "expertise and advice" offered by career diplomats at the State Department. This followed Trump’s unprecedented call to the president of Taiwan that flouted decades of protocol designed to avoid roiling the waters of the U.S./China bilateral relationship. No president or president-elect had made such a call since 1979, when the U.S. closed its embassy in Taiwan.
When a reporter asked whether Trump is “winging” his conversations with foreign leaders, Earnest said, "Whenever you are talking about the president-elect interacting with foreign leaders, it's incredibly important. It has profound consequences for our country and for our national interests around the world."
"Last week, we had some conversations about a conversation the president-elect had with the prime minister of Pakistan, and I noted in answering questions about that telephone call that President Obama, over the course of his eight years in the White House, has benefited significantly from the expertise, advice and experience of career diplomats at the State Department," said Earnest. The spokesman added that the State Department is available to Trump and "will continue to be available to him when he enters the Oval Office."
"President Obama benefited from it and President-elect Trump would as well," Earnest said.
It has been revealed since Trump’s conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen on December 2, preparations for the outreach by Trump had been ongoing for months and even before Trump’s selection as the GOP presidential nominee. The call took careful planning and deliberations, surprising the White House and the media. The Chinese foreign ministry has sent a note of protest to the White House, citing the decades-long relationship between Washington and Beijing. Trump came under fire last Friday after his transition team revealed he had spoken to the leader of Taiwan, a move no president or president-elect has made since 1979.
Over the December 3-4 weekend, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said that Trump and Tsai spoke about his election victory. However, senior aides to Trump said that the call was part of Trump’s strategy on U.S./China relations. cognition from Taiwan to China nearly 40 years ago.
"Did China ask us if it was OK to carry out a number of actions such as build up disputed islands in the South China Sea or take economic measures hurtful to the United States," Trump tweeted yesterday, apparently in response to critics.
China continues to challenge the U.S. and countries in the region of the South China Sea by building military air and sea bases on islands it has reclaimed from the sea. China continues to assert claims over much of the South China Sea and its vast natural resources, which include fisheries, petroleum, and hugley important sea-lanes. And to emphasize its continued claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, last week two nuclear-capable bombers from China circled Taiwan to make China's case claer.