President-Elect Trump Picks Fight With China On Twitter

REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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President-elect Donald Trump criticized China on Twitter Sunday for its trade and military policies days after breaking decades of diplomatic policy and speaking with Taiwan’s head of state.

“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!” Trump tweeted.

Twitter screenshot

Twitter screenshot

The president-elect’s call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen Friday was the first a time a U.S. president or president-elect had spoken with a Taiwan head of state since 1979. The U.S. cut diplomatic relations that year. China views Taiwan as an illegitimate state.

The U.S. still sells arms to the island country. Trump tweeted Friday, “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, tweeted the following day that Trump’s call was not a “shift” but a “major pivot.”

“These are major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan. That’s how wars start,” the Connecticut senator added.

China’s foreign minister said Sunday, “This is but a petty action created by Taiwan. It can never change the ‘one China’ reality that has formed in international society.”

Vice President-elect Mike Pence brushed off anger about the call. “It’s a little mystifying to me that President Obama can reach out to a murdering dictator in Cuba in the last year and be hailed as a hero for doing it, and President-elect Donald Trump takes a courtesy call from the democratically-elected leader of Taiwan, and it’s become something of a controversy,” Pence said on ABC News Sunday morning.