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Donald Trump uses Twitter to attack China

Commentary: The president-elect really doesn't like China's trade policies. Or their military policies, for that matter.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


The Twittering president-elect.

Ty Wright, Getty Images

Diplomacy is for twits.

Twitter is for presidents who get things done.

That appears to be the attitude of Donald Trump, as he employs what used to be called a microblogging site to attend to macroeconomics and international relations.

On Sunday afternoon, the president-elect mounted his favorite platform to rail against China.

In two tweets, he said: "Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so!"

You can decide whether the substance of this is accurate, helpful or even wise. You might conclude it's heartening that a president chooses forthright public communication, rather than whispers. Once a tweet is out there, it's never back in here.

What's clear, though, is that no head of state has ever tried to intimidate, annoy or perhaps perplex another nation -- and maybe his own -- quite like this.

Trump's outburst came on the day after "Saturday Night Live" mocked him for obsessive tweeting. It came after a morning in which he'd threatened US companies with heavy taxes if they fire American workers and move their businesses abroad. Yes, that threat was on Twitter too.

Some will see a continuing reverberation from last week when Trump spoke to the Taiwanese president. China regards Taiwan not as an independent country, but as part of China.

Trump explained that the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, had called him rather than the other way around. He explained this, naturally, on Twitter.

So, even before Trump is inaugurated, Twitter seems to function as his medium of choice, there to let the people know instantly what he's thinking about. There's surely a refreshing quality to that.

While some will wonder what the Chinese will make of it all, others will merely be relieved that Trump didn't accuse China of inventing global warming.

He's already done that. Yes, of course it happened on Twitter.