Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, newly on Donald Trump’s expanded list of contenders for secretary of state, praised the president-elect’s decision to take a call from Taiwan’s president, which broke with decades of U.S. policy.
“The call came in from President Tsai Ing-wen. He made the choice to take it, which I think was absolutely right,” Huntsman told ABC News before making remarks at a conference hosted by the nonpartisan group No Labels, which he co-chairs.
Huntsman’s praise is especially significant because he served as the U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011.
The phone call was the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect and a Taiwanese counterpart since 1979. The U.S. has since adhered to the one-China policy, which recognizes Taiwan as a part of China.
Huntsman said he did not view this call as a shift in U.S.-China policy but said he was sure the Trump team did not orchestrate the call without knowing the implications.
“I think there’s a lot more to come, would be my guess, once the president-elect becomes president, but we’ll have to just wait and see. I’m sure he’s got a broader strategy,” Huntsman said.
Also, he confirmed that Trump is considering him as his possible top diplomat but said they haven’t had or scheduled any formal meetings yet.