Monday, December 5, 2016

China Amplifies Warning on Taiwan

[ed. Will someone please take this guy's Twitter account away? It's like giving a kid a box of matches in a room full of gasoline. Twitter bans users for hate speech and terroism threats, why not national security? As I recall, the NSA had serious problems with Obama's beloved blackberry when he took office, so restrictions were imposed (and still are). Now we have this. And, don't even get me started on how this compares to the pearl-clutching over Hillary Clinton's non-secure email servers. See also: Twitter Founder Feels 'Complicated' About Donald Trump's Tweeting.]

China warned President-elect Donald J. Trump on Monday that he was risking a confrontation over Taiwan, even as Mr. Trump broadened the dispute with new messages on Twitter challenging Beijing’s trade policies and military activities in the South China Sea.

A front-page editorial in the overseas edition of People’s Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party of China, denounced Mr. Trump for speaking Friday with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, warning that “creating troubles for the China-U.S. relationship is creating troubles for the U.S. itself.” The rebuke was much tougher than the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s initial response to the phone call, which broke with decades of American diplomatic practice.

For his part, Mr. Trump seemed to take umbrage at the idea that he needed China’s approval to speak with Ms. Tsai. In two posts on Twitter, he wrote: “Did China ask us if it was O.K. to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” (...)

The Chinese government’s initial reaction to Mr. Trump’s call has already faced a torrent of criticism on social media from Chinese who complained it was not tough enough. The statement from Foreign Minister Wang Yi, which was relatively low-key given the unprecedented nature of the call, refrained from criticizing Mr. Trump, instead accusing Taiwan of playing a “little trick” on the American president-elect.

That offered Mr. Trump a face-saving way out of the imbroglio, and a chance to de-escalate. But the messages he posted on Twitter late Sunday stepped up the pressure on China’s leaders instead.

by Jane Perlez, NY Times |  Read more:
Image: USGS/Getty