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China Disapproves of Taiwan Delegation at Trump Inauguration

  • A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Burlingame, California, U.S., Jan.14, 2017.

    A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Burlingame, California, U.S., Jan.14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 January 2017

U.S.-China relations have again flared up over Taiwan as Trump steps into the White House.


While Donald Trump blasted out a rhetoric-filled speech and protests took place on Inauguration Day on Friday, China has warned of potentially shaky relations with the U.S. because of the Taiwanese delegation attending the inauguration. 

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China said that it opposed Taiwan’s delegation attending the swearing-in ceremony in Washington D.C. and urged that the U.S. bar their attendance, stating that it could “disturb or undermine Sino-U.S. relations.”

“We once again urge relevant parties in the U.S. to allow no delegation sent by the Taiwan authority to attend the inauguration ceremony of the president, and not to have any official contact with Taiwan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press conference.

“China’s position has already accurately and unmistakably been given to the US administration and Trump’s team,” Hua said, adding that China’s ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai will attend the ceremony.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said that former premier and party leader, Yu Shyi-kun along with a group of lawmakers and politicians from the island’s  ruling Democratic Progressive Party and opposition Nationalists will attend the inauguration.

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While congratulating Trump on his swearing in as president, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said that Taiwan-U.S. relations have a lengthy history and have made significant progress in recent years, and Taiwan wants to “continue to strengthen Taiwan-U.S. relations in the future on the basis of excellent mutual trust and interaction.”

Under the “One China” principle, Beijing considers Taiwan a rogue province, and still considers the island as a legitimate part of China. Recent independence movements along with a phone call from Trump has ruffled feathers with Beijing.

In December, Trump broke years of established diplomatic convention by calling Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in what China regarded as a “petty” exchange.

Trump has continually criticized China’s trade policy, saying that it is draining local jobs from the U.S. If his inauguration speech was anything to go by, Trump seems intent on establishing a new system of protectionism and foreign policy that could disregard traditional diplomacy in the bid to “put America first.”

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Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, further ignited tension over the South China Sea last week, saying that China’s control of the disputed waterway would threaten the “entire global economy.”

Before Trump was sworn in, Chinese President Xi Jinping argued that the world’s two biggest economies need to “work hard, to form a long-term, stable cooperative relationship,” adding that “no one is a winner in a trade war.” 

Xi also compared protectionist economic policies, indeed the very sort that Trump championed during the inauguration , to “locking oneself in a dark room.” China has recently been expanding its global trade and investment from Latin America to Africa. The U.S. has more than US$1 Trillion debt with the world’s most populous country.

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