The Lunar New Year was January 28.
And the problem isn’t just a matter of diplomatic niceties; it’s that Mr. Trump’s actions and policies are putting us in a weaker bargaining position. In the February 8 letter to Xi, Trump also thanked Xi for his “congratulatory letter” on his inauguration, according to the White House. Lu also dismissed suggestions that China had expected contact from Trump sooner.
There was no invitation to golf, no flattery or hectoring or abrupt cutting of the line – now hallmarks of Donald Trump’s numerous phone calls with foreigner leaders since becoming President.
When speaking to Trump on Friday, Xi congratulated Trump on assuming office as U.S. president, and expressed appreciation for his festival greetings. The foreign ministry in Beijing said last week the two countries were remaining “in close touch”.
Many other issues of friction exist between the superpowers, including Beijing’s aggrandisement in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, how to rein in rogue state North Korea and combating climate change. The billionaire real estate developer has promised to label China a currency manipulator, bring trade complaints against the nation and impose tariffs if it doesn’t halt what he sees as unfair trading practices.
Prior to his inauguration, Trump infuriated China by speaking with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen over the phone, breaking with long-standing USA diplomatic protocol.
China wants cooperation with the USA on trade, investment, technology, energy and infrastructure, as well as strengthening coordination on worldwide matters to jointly protect global peace and stability, Xi said.
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said the government hopes that the United States will continue to support Taiwan’s cross-strait policy of peace and stability and firmly keep its promises to maintain Taiwan’s security and defense based on the TRA and the “six assurances”.
Trump built his popularity, in part, on bashing Beijing for “stealing” American jobs and there are a number of committed China-sceptics in his administration, so a dramatic softening is unlikely, analysts say.
For now, anyway. Chinese leaders have been notably patient in the face of Mr. Trump’s threats and vicissitudes; they are clearly playing a long game.
Many people in Taiwan today remain distrustful of Beijing while others are keen to explore warmer relations, especially when it comes to trade opportunities.