White House mistakenly calls Chinese president Xi Jinping as president of Taiwan

The White House referred to Xi Jinping as the president of the Republic of China, which is Taiwan’s formal name. Under the “One China” principle, Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory.

world Updated: Jul 09, 2017 14:57 IST
US President Donald Trump,Chinese President Xi Jinping,Taiwan
US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Hamburg on July 8, 2017. PTI(AP7_8_2017_000173B)(AP)

US President Donald Trump took a conciliatory tone on Saturday at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the leaders agreed to keep working on two pressing issues — the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and bilateral trade irritants.

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. China’s formal name is People’s Republic of China.

The White House made the diplomatic blunder in a transcript of Trump’s public remarks with Xi at the start of a bilateral meeting at an international summit in Germany.

“It’s an honour to have you as a friend,” Trump told Xi, telling him he appreciated actions he had already taken on North Korea.

“As far as North Korea is concerned, we will have, eventually, success. It may take longer than I’d like. It may take longer than you’d like. But there will be success in the end one way or the other,” Trump said.

The Chinese leader has told Trump previously that Beijing expects Washington to continue managing relations based on the “One China” principle that rules out formal contacts with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

The White House did not immediately comment on the diplomatic blunder.

The Trump administration has made new arms sales to Taiwan, imposed sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company and put China on a global human trafficking list. It also accused a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.

The White House is also debating trade actions against Beijing, including tariffs on its steel exports and a few days before the G20 talks, Trump complained that trade between China and North Korea had grown.

First Published: Jul 09, 2017 14:39 IST