On sensitive U.S. stopover, Taiwan leader connects to Twitter


 Reuters International

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen smiles from her motorcade as she leaves to a meeting at Twitter during a stop-over after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, U.S., January 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

(reuters_tickers)

By Jane Lanhee Lee

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - 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 <TWTR.N> on Saturday and reactivated an old account.

"Had a great visit to @Twitter HQ today. Thank you to @vijaya and team for showing us around!” read her first tweet from her old account in over two years. Previously she tweeted in Chinese.

There was conflicting information earlier over whether she was opening a new English account or reviving the old one.

A 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.

(Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Reuters

 Reuters International