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On sensitive U.S. stopover, Taiwan leader connects to Twitter
January 14, 2017 / 10:14 PM / 10 months ago

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

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 14 (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 and opened her official account on Saturday.

A source with knowledge of the president’s travel through San Francisco told Reuters she met with 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 U.S. tech capital.

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 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. (Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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