WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump may have invited major problems from China on Friday, by taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan -- something that hasn't happened in nearly four decades.
Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen in a brief conversation on Friday, spokeswoman Hope Hicks and several other sources reportedly confirmed. The story was first reported by the Financial Times and Taipei Times.
The Times reported that Trump's camp said the leaders "noted the close economic, political, and security ties" between Taiwan and the United States.
The problem is, there are no formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan -- meaning the communication could bring a lot of trouble for Trump's forthcoming foreign policy matters involving China.
Since Washington-Taipei relations ended in 1979, no American president or president-elect has spoken to any Taiwanese leader -- until Trump did so Friday.
The conversation might seem inconsequential, but it is a major break from U.S.-Asian foreign policy -- and very likely to upset regional power China, experts said, which views Taiwan as nothing more than a province.
"The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions," Evan Medeiros, former Asia director at the White House national security council, said Friday. "Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China's perceptions of Trump's strategic intentions for the negative.
"With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for U.S.-China relations."
Former President Richard Nixon sought a "One China" policy with his visit in 1972 -- and President Jimmy Carter shut down the U.S. embassy in Taiwan seven years later, saying the United States recognizes Beijing as the only government for both China and Taiwan.
As usual, Trump took to Twitter Friday to respond to the reports.
"The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!" his tweet said.
The Taipei Times reported that the phone call was intended by Tsai as an effort to foster a relationship with Trump, who has greatly concerned Taiwan with pledges to scrap President Barack Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and accusations that the Asian nation has taken jobs from the United States.