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China, US to extend economic cooperation after "100-Day Plan"

12 July 2017, 12:41 | Rodolfo Quinn

Saul Loeb POOL AFP

Saul Loeb  POOL AFP

The United States has apologized for mistakenly identifying Chinese President Xi Jinping as the leader of Taiwan in a statement, China's Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Xi Jinping is the president of the People's Republic of China. Chinese scholars said the error shows a lack of competence in the White House that is not conducive to healthy US-China relations.

"The U.S. side has expressed that they are sorry for this technical error and they have made a correction", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said of the misidentification during a regular news briefing Monday.

Still, it was likely to have ruffled feathers in Beijing since China claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, to be brought back into the fold by force if necessary.

The President of Taiwan is Tsai Ing-wen, who is considered to be a competitor to Xi Jinping.

Trump first ruffled feathers in Beijing after his November election victory, when the president-elect accepted a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, despite the United States having broken off relations with the island in 1979.

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Before taking office, Mr Trump publicly toyed with the idea of abandoning the One-China policy that acknowledgesChina and Taiwan are part of the same country, and suggested it could be a bargaining chip in trade negotiations.

This is not the first time that Trump has blundered into the extremely sensitive question of Taiwan's sovereignty.

Beijing and Washington have agreed to hold the first round of comprehensive economic dialogue on July 19, one of four high-level dialogue mechanisms initiated during the Mar-a-Lago meeting between Xi and Trump in April.

Xi, striking a more sober note than Trump, said "there is a lot of work needed to be done" on the "sensitive issues [that] remain in the China-U.S. relationship".

According to some reports, it was the White House's second gaffe of the day, after earlier it mistitled Japan's prime minister as "President Abe of Japan". His White House staff, in particular, has been faulted for poor organisation.

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