By Phillip Orchard
Late last Friday, with the approaching weekend ensuring the White House minimal media coverage of the move, U.S. President Donald Trump quietly signed bipartisan legislation that permits high-level exchanges between senior U.S. and Taiwanese government officials. Its passage comes three months after Congress, amid intense pressure from Beijing, watered down part of the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act that would require U.S. Navy warships to conduct regular port calls in Taiwan.
Of course, the signing of the act – a move Chinese state media in February warned would cross a “red line” and cause immeasurable damage to Sino-U.S. ties – did not escape Beijing’s notice. This week, in an uncharacteristically fiery speech, China’s newly crowned president-for-life Xi Jinping said, “All acts and tricks to split the motherland are doomed to failure and will be condemned by the people and punished by history.” The following day, China’s lone a