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Trump’s insults don’t rattle Beijing but Weibo users are entertained by US Twitter diplomacy

China appears to be shrugging off Donald Trump's barrage of insulting tweets, but Chinese netizens are getting some laughs from the U.S. president-elect's Twitter-diplomacy.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang faced an onslaught of questions at the authority's regular press conference on Monday ,after a few days during which Trump accepted a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and accused Beijing of manipulating its currency, unfairly taxing U.S. products and militarizing the South China Sea.

At the press conference, Lu seemed keen to draw a line under the issue of the president-elect's Friday call with Tsai.

"The world knows clear the position held by the Chinese government on Taiwan-related issues. And I believe that President-elect Trump and his team are also aware of this," he told reporters.

China's Foreign Ministry had lodged a diplomatic complaint with the U.S. about the call, which broke nearly four decades of U.S foreign policy. The 10-minute call was the first by a U.S. head of state with a Taiwanese leader since 1979, when Washington first embraced the "One China" policy under which Beijing views special territories Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as part of China.

Meanwhile, Lu did not directly address a question about Trump's comments on China's foreign exchange, trade and defense policies.

"I think it is very clear to all that for many years China-U.S. economic and trade relations have been highly mutually beneficial,aiming for win-win results, otherwise it could not have been where it is today," he said. "To maintain such sound momentum of development, it will take both sides to work together on the basis of upholding major principles in bilateral relations."

"We will not speculate on what motivates President-elect Trump and his team into taking certain moves. But we will surely make ourselves clear if what they say concerns China," he added.

But while the Chinese government sought to play down Trump's comments, the domestic media and social media users were far more outspoken on Monday.

A youth wearing a shirt that reads 'we have nothing in common' walks past a news stand advertising local Chinese magazine Global People, showing cover portraits of Sun Yat-sen (centre L), founding father of the Republic of China, and US president-elect Donald Trump (centre R), in Shanghai on November 14, 2016.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images
A youth wearing a shirt that reads 'we have nothing in common' walks past a news stand advertising local Chinese magazine Global People, showing cover portraits of Sun Yat-sen (centre L), founding father of the Republic of China, and US president-elect Donald Trump (centre R), in Shanghai on November 14, 2016.

Communist Party-owned paper People's Daily said Trump's comments were "irrational China bashing" that showed his "ignorance of China". The newspaper also denied that China was manipulating the yuan, nor building a "massive military complex" in the middle of the South China Sea as Trump claimed.

"An irrational and hasty 'get tough with China' policy would be detrimental to U.S. long-term interests," People's Daily opined.

"There is good reason why the China-U.S. relationship is described as one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. Not only is the U.S. more dependent on China than Trump seems to realize, but world peace and prosperity depend on the healthy develop of China-U.S. relations. Trump needs to get the China-U.S. relationship right."

The state-owned China Daily advocated "some lessons in diplomacy" for Trump.

"Trump may dislike, distrust the diplomatic establishment in Washington D.C., and aspire to rework US foreign policies. But he should first come to terms with the real, not imagined, reality of international relations before wielding the scalpel, because a misstep as president will be far more damaging than one as president-elect.

"As president-elect, Trump can expect some forgiveness even when he is shooting from the hip. But things will be different when he becomes president," the China Daily said in an opinion piece.

Social media users, meanwhile, appeared to be entertained by Trump's tweets. Twitter is blocked in China but people were able to comment on news stories that recounted the president-elect's comments.

"Trump is running the country with Twitter," a user with the name Miso posted on China's Twitter-equivalent, Weibo.

Others commiserated with White House officials who have had to respond to questions about Trump's tweets.

"His account should be closed so or he'll be yelping all the time," said a user called Don't Be Too Stupid.

"If he has the guts, he should open a Weibo account," posted Seventh Brother.

Trump himself explained his use of Twi-plomacy, tweeting on Monday:

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