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PM circumspect on Trump's call with Taiwan

AAP logoAAP 3/12/2016

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to weigh into Donald Trump's controversial phone call to the Taiwanese leader.

"I managed to avoid running a commentary during the course of the US election and I'm not going to embark on becoming a US politics commentator now," he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

US president-elect Donald Trump stirred diplomatic relations with China after taking an unusual step of speaking on the telephone to the leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the US broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

Government frontbencher Arthur Sinodinos says the only thing Australia should be concerned with is its own national interest.

"Our national interest is to work with both the US and with China to keep them both engaged in a really productive way in the region," Senator Sinodinos told ABC television on Sunday.

Trump's conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen drew an irritated, although understated, response from China.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the contact was "just a small trick by Taiwan" that he believed would not change US policy toward China, according to Hong Kong's Phoenix TV.

"The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-US relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged," Wang was quoted as saying.

Chinese officials said they lodged a complaint with the US and reiterated a commitment to seeking "reunification" with the island, which they consider a renegade province.

After the phone conversation on Friday, Trump tweeted that Tsai "CALLED ME".

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