Taiwan president connects to Twitter during stop-over in San Francisco

Tsai Ing-wen visited the headquarters of the messaging app but did confirm if she had met CEO Jack Dorsey

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 January, 2017, 4:48pm

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 and opened her official account on Saturday.

A source with knowledge of the president’s travel through San Francisco told Reuters she met the “head of Twitter” but declined to confirm if that person was CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not provide further details of her meetings in the US tech capital.

Beijing casts wary eye as Taiwan’s president makes stopover in the US

Tsai was returning from a week-long visit to Central America. But it was her stopovers in the US 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 Sino-US relations.

Trump took a congratulatory call from Tsai after his November 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 January 7 and 8 before heading to Central America and arrived in San Francisco on Friday night on her way back home. She did not appear to have met any representatives of the Trump team during her short US stays. But in Houston last Sunday, she met Republican US Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott which sparked more ire in Beijing.

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

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Cruz was pointed in his criticism of the Chinese, saying they needed to “understand that in America we make decisions about meeting 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 will wind up her trip with a lunch with hundreds of people from the Taiwanese community before her plane departs for Taiwan in the afternoon.