Saturday, January 14, 2017

Taiwan President Connects to Twitter During Sensitive US Stopover

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, carving a careful diplomatic path on her stopovers in the United States, visited the headquarters of micro-messaging service Twitter Inc. on Saturday and created a new account.

A source with knowledge of the president’s travel through San Francisco told Reuters she opened a Twitter account in English. Tsai already has a Chinese language account which she has not used in a few years.

Another source at the meeting said Tsai met with Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde and that CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey was not present.

Pictures of the visit posted online showed the president reactivating her presence on the messaging service and posing in front of the famous photo that crashed Twitter — 2014 Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres’ “selfie” with top Hollywood celebrities.

Tsai was returning from a week-long visit to Central America. But it was her stopovers in the United States that raised more interest after President-elect Donald Trump said last month he would reconsider the long-standing “one China” policy, whereby the United States acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China.

He reiterated that possibility in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, a week before his inauguration. China responded that the “one China” principle was the non-negotiable political basis for China-U.S. relations.

Trump took a congratulatory call from Tsai after his Nov. 8 victory, sparking outrage from China, which believes the Taiwanese leader wants to seek formal independence from the mainland.

Tsai made a stopover in Houston on Jan. 7 and 8 before heading to Central America and arrived Friday night in San Francisco on her way back home. She did not appear to have met with any representatives of the Trump team during her short U.S. stays. But in Houston last Sunday, she met with Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott and sparked more ire in Beijing.

China had asked the United States not to allow Tsai to enter or have formal government meetings under the one China policy.

Cruz was pointed in his criticism of the Chinese, saying they needed to “understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves.”

Beijing considers self-governing Taiwan a renegade province ineligible for state-to-state relations. The subject is a sensitive one for China.

More than a hundred people were gathered outside the Hyatt Regency near San Francisco International Airport, some to protest and some to support the president.

Tsai wound up her trip with a lunch for 800 people from the Taiwanese community before her scheduled departure for Taiwan in the afternoon.

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