Given that Trump campaigned on drawing down expensive military commitments overseas, many believed any confrontation between the USA and China would be limited to commerce, and that the South China Sea would be less of a hotspot than it has been under the Obama administration, which stepped up naval patrols in the region.
Any suggestion in the past that the US may change its stance on China-Taiwan relations has been met with alarm in Beijing. "Why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call?"
Trump raised eyebrows about the policy last month when the president-elect spoke over the phone with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
"We urge the relevant parties in the United States to recognize the high degree of sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and abide by commitments made by successive USA administrations from both parties to pursue the One China policy", read the statement posted on the ministry's website. Until Trump, no president or president-elect had made contact with a Taiwanese president since the USA officially broke ties with the self-ruled island in 1979.
"Unless Washington plans to wage a large scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish", the nationalistic Global Times wrote in an editorial.
Successive US administrations - both Republican and Democratic - have been committed to a "One-China" policy ever since Washington stopped recognizing Taiwan's government in 1979, following its engagement with China that has progressively gotten stronger despite periodic wrinkles.
Trump has targeted Chinese core interests and sensitive issues, threatening to label China a currency manipulator, heavily tax Chinese exports, push China in the South China Sea, and end the "one-China" policy.
Trump's latest views on Russian Federation comes only days after CNN's report regarding classified documents presented to Obama and Trump during an intelligence briefing last week that contained unsubstantiated and potentially compromising information about the president-elect.
"China thinks it should push its sovereignty" into areas of the Pacific that the United States considers off-limits.
China's foreign ministry hit back in a statement advising Trump, a billionaire property tycoon who has claimed "deals are my art form", that he would never be able to achieve such a deal.
Trump also told the newspaper he would keep sanctions imposed by the Obama administration against Russian Federation in place "for a period of time", adding that he'd consider lifting them once Vladimir Putin proves he can be an ally.
On Wednesday, Tillerson told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Beijing's ongoing island-building strategy in the busy waterway - through which $5 trillion of trade passes annually - was illegal and "akin to Russia's taking of Crimea".
Trump's pick to lead a newly formed White House National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, a University of California, Irvine, economics professor, is a frequent critic of China's trade practices.
"I saw it and thought it was so clever".