Trump hits out at China in tweets, targets Beijing's moves including military build-up in South China Sea

US President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a stop at US Bank Arena on Dec 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
US President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a stop at US Bank Arena on Dec 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - US  President-elect Donald Trump took on the Chinese government via social media on Sunday (Nov 4), rejecting criticism of his decision to take a phone call from Taiwan’s President at the risk of triggering backlash from Beijing.

Mr Trump told his 16.6 million Twitter followers that he wouldn’t be told by China whom he should or shouldn’t talk to, and reiterated some of the grievances about China which he used in his winning presidential campaign.

“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 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!”  he tweeted.

Over the weekend, China complained to the US after Mr Trump flouted almost four decades of diplomatic protocol by directly speaking with the leader of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province. 

 
 

MEASURED RESPONSE 

Its measured response suggested China’s desire to keep the incident from escalating into a full-blown crisis before Mr Trump entered the White House or even appointed a full foreign policy team – in particular, a secretary of state.

His retort was consistent with what one of his allies, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, signalled earlier on Sunday.

“Beijing does not dictate who the president of the United States speaks to,” Mr Gingrich said on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures. “The United States is not always going to do what China wants them to do.”  

He said the “old, timid State Department” would have advised against taking the call from Taiwan’s President, adding: “We elected him not to listen to the current State Department.”