Scholars: White House's name gaffe not helping US-China ties


In a press statement on US President Donald Trump's meeting with China's leader, the White House named Xi as head of the "Republic of China".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing asked Washington for an explanation of the mistake, and the USA said it was a technical error.

However, his efforts seemed to be undermined by the White House, which erroneously referred to Xi Jinping as the president of the Republic of China, which is Taiwan's formal name.

During the meeting, Xi also called for an early meeting of the two states' defence ministers and noted the upcoming agenda of the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff visit to China in August, the first dialogue between the joint staffs of the two militaries in November and the Chinese Navy's participation in the United States-led 2018 Pacific Rim military drill. Tsai Ing-wen is the strongest woman politician in the region.

Before taking office, Mr Trump publicly toyed with the idea of abandoning the One-China policy that acknowledgesChina and Taiwan are part of the same country, and suggested it could be a bargaining chip in trade negotiations.

Trump hailed his "wonderful relationship" with Xi and expressed confidence in "success" in addressing common problems, together with China, according to the White House.

America remains Taiwan's most powerful ally despite having no official relations with Taipei for decades.

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"It will only make the Chinese people look down upon the American government for it to make such a low-level mistake".

But Xi's title was not Washington's only flub last week: a separate news release called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "President Abe of Japan".

In December, Mr Trump, as president-elect, accepted a telephone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, which broke with decades of United States precedent and was considered a snub for Beijing.

This is not the first time that Trump has blundered into the extremely sensitive question of Taiwan's sovereignty.

After acknowledging that both nations had made progress for bilateral cooperation in many fields since the Mar-a-Lago meeting last April, despite some sensitive issues, Xi Jinping called for joint efforts with Donald Trump to keep bilateral ties in place and focus on global matters.

Trump has come under fire for failing to fill thousands of slots in his administration, with his White House staff, in particular, being faulted for poor organizational skills.