22 July 2018

China tells Trump should lay off Twitter

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China has slammed US President-elect Donald Trump over his use of Twitter to conduct international diplomacy in a commentary published by the country's official news agency Xinhua.

Trump has earned a reputation for making unpredictable statements on Twitter that often depart from long-standing US policies and he's made several controversial comments about China.

"The obsession with 'Twitter diplomacy' is undesirable," said the bylined commentary, which only appeared on the agency's Chinese website. Xinhua is the biggest and most influential of China's state-run media.

"It is a commonly accepted that diplomacy is not a child's game -- and even less is it business dealing. As former United States Secretary of State [Madeleine] Albright said, Twitter should not be a tool for foreign policy," the commentary, which was published this week, said.

Albright served under former President Bill Clinton and was a vocal supporter of Trump's democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
In a Tweet late Monday, Trump suggested that China wasn't doing enough to rein in its nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea.

He's also used Twitter to accuse China of keeping its currency artificially low, of military posturing in the South China Sea and to announce that he'd spoken directly with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen -- upending a long-standing US policy.

China's official reaction to Trump has been relatively muted.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs went as far saying it was "seriously concerned" after Trump questioned whether the United States should keep its position that Taiwan is part of "one China."

However, The Global Times, a provocative but state-sanctioned tabloid, has gone further, calling Trump "ignorant as a child in foreign policy" and "pandering to irresponsible attitudes."

It's not just China that Trump has targeted in his tweets.

In the last 24 hours alone, he's tweeted on the delay in an intelligence briefing on "so-called 'Russian hacking'" -- "perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!"

He's renewed his attacks on ObamaCare -- "Republicans must be careful in that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases......"

And accused "some people" of not understanding the "Movement" in relation to his upcoming inauguration.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" in November, Trump suggested that after being officially sworn in as president he'd be "very restrained" on Twitter.

There are few signs yet that that's likely to happen.

"Tweeting has become a habit for Mr. Trump," the Chinese commentary said.

2017.01.05 / 13:12
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