December 6, 2016 7:18 am JST

Beijing grapples with Trump's anti-China stance

Mainland could ramp up pressure on Taiwan instead

OKI NAGAI, Nikkei staff writer

BEIJING -- China is struggling to respond to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's recent actions, from his phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to his tweets criticizing Beijing over the South China Sea.

"We will not speculate on what motivates President-elect Trump and his team into taking certain moves," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Monday, commenting that Beijing will react only to specific policies or actions.

In order to continue developing U.S.-China ties, "it will take both sides to work together on the basis of upholding major principles in bilateral relations," he said, offering only a general statement on the matter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who played a major role in normalizing bilateral ties. Xi said the countries must "stick to non-confrontation and non-conflict, respect each other" and pursue a "new type of major country relationship," China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Kissinger apparently said that he believed the new U.S. administration also hopes for stable development in bilateral ties.

Some Chinese observers say Trump's tweets were intended to test Beijing to give the incoming administration a better idea of how to deal with the Asian giant.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi only blamed Taiwan for the call, which he described as a petty move. Many in the mainland are critical of Tsai, who is head of Taiwan's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party. The number of tourists to the island has dropped 30-40% year on year. With Trump keeping his true intentions hidden, Beijing will likely focus its gaze on Taipei.

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