Sunday 18 August 2019

Trump dubbed 'as ignorant as a child' by Chinese state media

Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2 had already angered Beijing (AP)
Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2 had already angered Beijing (AP)
Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
The cover of 'Time' magazine. Photo: Reuters
President-elect Donald Trump. Photo: AP

Nomaan Merchant

An official Chinese newspaper has called Donald Trump "as ignorant as a child" after the president-elect again suggested that he was reconsidering how America deals with Taiwan.

The Global Times, a Communist Party-controlled newspaper, was responding to Mr Trump's comments in a television interview on Sunday that he would not feel "bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade".

Beijing was already angered by Mr Trump's phone call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, the first time an American president or president-elect has publicly spoken to a Taiwanese leader in nearly four decades.

China considers the self-governing island to be its territory and any reference to a separate Taiwanese head of state to be a grave insult.

Hours after Mr Trump's interview with Fox News Channel aired, the Global Times published a Chinese-language editorial headlined: "Trump, please listen clearly: 'One China' cannot be traded.

"China needs to launch a resolute struggle with him. Only after he's hit some obstacles and truly understands that China and the rest of the world are not to be bullied will he gain some perception.

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"Many people might be surprised at how the new US leader is truly a 'businessman' through-and-through," the paper said, referring to Mr Trump's suggestion of using the "one China" policy as a bargaining chip. "But in the field of diplomacy, he is as ignorant as a child."

The Global Times, which is published by the Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, often runs commentaries that target nationalistic sentiment with provocative language.

Chinese officials have had a muted response so far to Mr Trump, who followed the phone call with two tweets accusing China of manipulating its currency, taxing American imports and provoking tensions in the South China Sea.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the phone call on a Taiwanese "trick", and the ministry has repeatedly reaffirmed that Taiwan is a part of China without directly criticising the president-elect.

On Sunday, Mr Trump appeared to back off reports that his call with Ms Tsai was planned well in advance by advisers positioning him to confront China over the island.

He said he heard about the call "probably an hour or two before".

"Why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call?" he said. "I think it actually would've been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it."w

PA Media

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