China will ‘take off the gloves’ if Trump continues on Taiwan, state media warns

China will “take off the gloves” and take strong action if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump continues to provoke Beijing over Taiwan once he assumes office, two leading state-run newspapers said on Monday.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday, Trump said the “One China” policy was up for negotiation. China’s foreign ministry, in response, said “One China” was the foundation of China-U.S. ties and was non-negotiable.

Trump broke with decades of precedent last month by taking a congratulatory telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, angering Beijing which sees Taiwan as part of China.

 “If Trump is determined to use this gambit in taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves,” the English-language China Daily said.

The Global Times, an influential state-run tabloid, echoed the China Daily, saying Beijing would take “strong countermeasures” against Trump’s attempt to “impair” the “One China” principle.

“The Chinese mainland will be prompted to speed up Taiwan reunification and mercilessly combat those who advocate Taiwan’s independence,” the paper said in an editorial.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States was clearly aware of China’s position on “One China”.

“Any person should understand that in this world there are certain things that cannot be traded or bought and sold,” she told a daily news briefing.

“The One China principle is the precondition and political basis for any country having relations with China.”

Hua added, “If anyone attempts to damage the One China principle or if they are under the illusion they can use this as a bargaining chip, they will be opposed by the Chinese government and people.

“In the end it will be like lifting a rock to drop it on one’s own feet,” she said, without elaborating.