US President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday (Dec 31) left open the possibility of meeting with Taiwan's president if she visits the United States after he is sworn in on Jan 20 and also expressed continued scepticism over whether Russia was responsible for computer hacks of Democratic Party officials.
In remarks to reporters upon entering a New Year's Eve celebration at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump said, "We'll see,"when pressed on whether he would meet Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's president if she were to be in the United States at any point after he becomes president. Taiwan's president will be in transit in Houston on Jan 7 and again will be in transit in San Francisco on Jan 13.
Beijing bristled when Trump, shortly after his Nov 8 victory, accepted a congratulatory telephone call from the Taiwan leader and has warned against steps that would upset the"one-China" policy China and the United States have maintained for decades.
Talk of a stop-over in the United States by the Taiwan president has further rattled Washington-Beijing relations.
On another foreign policy matter, Trump warned against being quick to pin the blame on Russia for the hacking of US emails. The Washington Post also reported on Friday that Moscow could be behind intrusion into a laptop owned by a Vermont electric utility.
US intelligence officials have said that they are confident Russia was behind the hacks, which could have played a role in Trump's defeat over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "I think it's unfair if we don't know. It could be somebody else. I also know things that other people don't know so we cannot be sure," Trump said.
Asked what that information included, the Republican President-elect said, "You will find out on Tuesday or Wednesday." He did not elaborate.