President-elect Donald Trump's foreign policies are so unclear that South Korea has appointed an officer to monitor his Twitter account for clues on how he intends to deal with the East Asia region. Trump has become notorious for posting inflammatory and undiplomatic Tweets — often late at night — and has irritated China by tweeting about the country's relations with neighbouring North Korea.
Just two weeks before Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States on 20th January, many of his policies remain opaque — particularly regarding foreign relations. Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, attacked China and even suggested former Ukip leader Nigel Farage would make a great UK ambassador to the US — which was news to the current ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch.
Now South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to appoint an official to closely monitor Trump's tweets, especially those relating to the region. According to South Korea's JoonAng Daily: "The Korean government is still in the process of building ties with Trump and does not have a lot of insight into his foreign policies —like most of the world. His 140-character posts are currently the most effective insight into policies of the incoming administration."
Over recent months Trump has made a number of criticisms about China. On Monday (2 January) he tweeted: "China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!"
That undiplomatic comment drew a cool response from China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang who said: "China's efforts are widely recognised, and we hope all sides will avoid remarks and actions to escalate the situation."
A better indicator of China's feelings could be found in a bylined comment on the Chinese official news agency Xinhua. "The obsession with 'Twitter diplomacy' is undesirable," said the comment, reported CNN. "It is a commonly accepted that diplomacy is not a child's game -- and even less is it business dealing." The comment added: "Twitter should not be a tool for foreign policy."