Donald Trump’s Twitter campaign is persisting despite allusions that he might curb his onslaught of posts. Mr. Trump is showing no signs of slowing down on Twitter in the days before his inauguration, and his numerous jabs at China have garnered a stern response.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized China via Twitter, and each time China has roundly condemned both the form and the content of these posts. Today was no exception; both China’s state newspaper and Foreign Ministry retaliated against Donald Trump’s “Twitter foreign policy.” Despite most forms of social media being banned in China, this has not stopped Chinese officials from being infuriated by Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts.
China’s state news agency, Xinhua, had enough of Mr. Trump’s incessant Twitter activity, running a stern headline on Tuesday stating that “an obsession with ‘Twitter foreign policy‘ is undesirable.” As reported by the New York Times, China is infuriated with Mr. Trump’s constant jabs, culminating in a tweet on Monday insinuating that China is not doing enough to assist with North Korea.
Responding to this veiled accusation that China is not assisting in containing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the article in Xinhua exclaims, “Anyone with common sense recognizes that foreign policy is not child’s play, and is not at all like running a business.”
In the commentary, China’s frustration with Mr. Trump’s unorthodox approach to foreign policy is obvious.
“Twitter shouldn’t become an instrument of foreign policy,” the article continues, insinuating that Mr. Trump is addicted to social media.
Earlier in the day, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson likewise responded to Mr. Trump’s “Twitter foreign policy” and the deterioration in China-U.S. relations, stating, “We hope that instead of saying or doing anything that may escalate tensions, all parties should take joint actions to move the issue back onto the track of dialogue and negotiation at an early date.”
“International relations have to be handled delicately. A poorly considered statement can cause [offense] or even spark a conflict. Trump may enjoy the way he is empowered by social media, but it is not a platform for a leader to conduct foreign policy.”
Apart from Mr. Trump’s recent tweet regarding China’s seeming lack of participation in containing North Korea, China was also concerned with his unconventional approach to Taiwan. After accepting a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Mr. Trump posted to Twitter and has recently alluded to the possibility of meeting the president on U.S. soil — a serious departure from the status quo.
This has infuriated China and exacerbated tensions. While Tsai maintains that she wants to keep the peace with China, her support of Taiwanese independence has concerned Bejing, and Mr. Trump’s amiability has raised Chinese suspicions.
For decades, the U.S. has eschewed official diplomatic relations with Taiwan in support of the “One-China” policy. As explained by BBC News, this policy reflects an acquiescence to the Chinese position that Taiwan is a part of China. This policy “is not only a key cornerstone of Sino-US relations, it is also a fundamental bedrock of Chinese policy-making and diplomacy.” Mr. Trump’s move away from this policy, as insinuated in multiple posts on Twitter, has rattled U.S.-China relations and raised fears that Taiwan is being emboldened in their pursuit of independence from China.
As China’s Foreign Ministry stated in yesterday’s briefing, “We keep stressing that the Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive one in China-US relations.”
“We urge the US side to fully recognize the sensitivity of the question, stick to the one China policy and the principles of the three China-US joint communiqués, cautiously and prudently approach Taiwan-related issues, and refrain from having any official contacts and exchanges with Taiwan. This position is very clear and explicit.”
This warning from China regarding Mr. Trump’s Twitter remarks on Taiwan and North Korea is the latest effect of his unorthodox approach to foreign policy, but it may not be the last. While Mr. Trump’s campaign was unconventional and focused on social media, he shows no signs of slowing down ahead of his inauguration at the end of this month.
Incoming white House press secretary Sean Spicer spoke to ABC News on Sunday, saying that Mr. Trump will continue with his Twitter policy statements.
“You know what, the fact of the matter is that, when he tweets, he gets results. So whether it’s Twitter, holding a news conference, picking up the phone, having a meeting, he is going to make sure that he continues to fight for the American people every single day.”
Donald Trump currently has 18.3 million followers on Twitter, 16.8 million on Facebook, and 4.5 million on Instagram. He has tweeted more than 34,000 times since joining the social media platform in 2009 and shows no signs of slowing down.
While Donald Trump’s “Twitter foreign policy” may have infuriated China, they may just have to get used to the incoming “Twitter President.” Mr. Trump’s most recent tweets hinted at major changes in nuclear policy, withdrawal of U.S. support for the United Nations, and a blatant disregard for the intelligence community. As Donald Trump’s inauguration draws near, China’s infuriation with the president-elect’s activity on Twitter has only grown, raising questions about the future of U.S.-Chinese relations under Mr. Trump.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]