BEIJING - China should engage US President-elect Donald Trump in constructive dialogue but punish Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's administration, state-run tabloid Global Times said on Monday (Dec 5).
The editorial comes as Mr Trump criticised China in a tweet on Sunday night (Monday morning, Singapore time), complaining about its currency manipulation and military build-up in the disputed South China Sea. Beijing has not responded to Mr Trump's latest tweet.
The Global Times, describing the phone call between Mr Trump and Ms Tsai last Friday as a "jaw-dropping move", said the President-elect is "taking advantage of his perceived fickleness and unpredictability to make some choppy waves in the Taiwan Straits to see if he can gain some bargaining chips before he is sworn in".
The editorial called for China to do more than just protesting, though it noted that "it is inappropriate to target Trump since he is still a president-elect".
Instead, it said: "China can punish the Tsai administration, as a way to convey a message to Trump.
"The Chinese mainland can let Taiwan lose one or two diplomatic allies as a punishment as well as a warning. The mainland can also strengthen its military deployment based on Anti-Secession Law against Taiwan in case of its independence," it added.
The editorial suggested that while punishing Taiwan is meant to be a lesson for Mr Trump, it is best to "engage in constructive conversations with him".
The phone call was the first direct contact reported between a US president or president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a measured response, said on Saturday that this was but a "petty gambit" by Taiwan, without pointedly mentioning Mr Trump.
China's Foreign Ministry had lodged a protest with the "relevant side" in the US. It had also called for the US to handle the Taiwan issue carefully to avoid any unnecessary disturbances in ties.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province, which eventually must be reunited with the mainland.