Donald Trump took on the Chinese government via social media on Sunday, rejecting criticism of his decision to take a phone call from Taiwan’s president at the risk of triggering backlash from Beijing.
The U.S. president-elect told his 16.6 million Twitter followers that he wouldn’t be told by China who he should or shouldn’t talk to, and reiterated some of the grievances about China 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!” Trump tweeted.
Over the weekend China complained to the U.S. after Trump flouted almost four decades of diplomatic protocol by directly speaking with the leader of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rogue province.
Its measured response suggested China’s desire to keep the incident from escalating into a full-blown crisis before Trump entered the White House or even appointed a full foreign policy team -- in particular, a secretary of state.
Trump’s retort was consistent with what one of his allies, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, signaled earlier on Sunday.
“Beijing does not dictate who the president of the United States speaks to,” 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.”
Gingrich 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.”
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