U.S. President Donald J. Trump meets with senators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday. Later, he held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. On Friday, he's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Pool photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Months of tensions that have been building between the United States and China are subsiding after the exchange of a landmark phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
During the conversation late Thursday, Trump told Xi that he would respect the "One China" policy, signaling his desire to move past previous statements that questioned Beijing's official sovereignty claims, The Financial Times reported.
As president-elect, Trump had also generated friction by taking a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
The White House confirmed Trump and Xi spoke over the phone in an "extremely cordial" manner, and that Trump had "agreed at the request of President Xi to honor [the] 'One China policy.'"
The Chinese foreign ministry on Friday described the exchange as a "very good call."
"Both sides have been in close communication ever since President Trump's inauguration," said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
Taiwanese news media reported on Trump's decision on the "One China" policy on Friday, but Taipei withheld from making any pronounced remarks, telling local reporters "communication between Taiwan and the United States is good."
There is also some speculation, following the call, that Trump reached out to Xi as part of his diplomatic strategy, ahead of his Friday summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, FT reported.
Abe, who is to dine with Trump four times, play a round of golf at the president's resort in Florida, and present an investment package that could generate 700,000 U.S. jobs, must now negotiate with a president who is rebalancing a trade relationship "that has tilted in Beijing's favor," according to Dennis Wilder, a former top China analyst at the CIA, now at Georgetown University.
The call to China may also be interpreted in Beijing as a sign Trump is "willing to learn," said Evan Medeiros, a former Asia adviser to President Barack Obama.
Chinese state media reported Xi praised Trump, but issues remain between the two of the world's largest economies.
China continues to build in the South China Sea, including militarily in the disputed Paracel Islands, and U.S., Chinese aircraft nearly collided on Wednesday near the Scarborough Shoal, in a maritime region where the two countries have encountered friction.