Beijing faces decision on how to respond to Trump’s tweets
Chinese leaders face a challenge: How to deal with Donald Trump. Weeks before taking office, the incoming American president is riling Beijing with confrontation and online statements that appear to foreshadow a tougher foreign policy toward China. China awoke yesterday to sharp criticism posted by Trump on Twitter, days after Beijing responded to his telephone conversation with Taiwan’s president by accusing the Taiwanese of playing a “small trick” on Trump.
Trump wrote, “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” That was apparently prompted by China’s response to Trump’s talk Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect is known to have spoken to a Taiwanese leader since the US broke off formal diplomatic relations in 1979.
So far, China has avoided responding with open hostility. Yesterday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China would have “no comment on what motivated the Trump team” to make the tweets, but said he believed both sides would continue to support a “sound and a stable bilateral relationship.” “For us, for China, we do not comment on his personality,” Lu said. “We focus on his policies, especially his policies toward China.” — AP