Beijing faces de­ci­sion on how to re­spond to Trump’s tweets

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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