On May 5 Trump emphasized that the United States must fix its trade inequality with China "because that's been a one-way street for decades".
Washington has maintained a delicate diplomatic balance since 1979, recognising Beijing's sovereignty as part of its "One China" policy, while remaining Taiwan's most powerful unofficial ally and main weapons supplier. "We urge foreign companies to respect China's territorial integrity and sovereignty, respect Chinese laws and the feelings of the Chinese people".
"We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens", the statement concluded, marking the strongest rebuke to date by the USA government of China's efforts to manipulate foreign companies to ensure that they meet Beijing's demands.
Delta Air Lines apologized in January for making "an inadvertent error" by listing Taiwan and Tibet, about which China is also sensitive, as separate countries.
Unlike self-ruled Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are Chinese territories operating with some degree of autonomy. Hong Kong and Macau are former European colonies that are now part of China but run largely autonomously.
In all, almost 40 global airlines have been targeted for running afoul of Beijing's dictates on areas it claims as part of Mainland China's holdings.
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On Twitter, one person wrote, "OMG my island is on fire" and included a video of lava gushing from the middle of a road. David Ige (D) issued an emergency proclamation and activated Hawaii's National Guard to help with evacuations.
The U.S. State Department responded to China's demands and strong-arm tactics, saying in a prepared statement: "We object to Beijing dictating how U.S. firms, including airlines, organize their websites for ease of consumer use". Washington acknowledges Beijing's position that there is one China that includes Taiwan and the United States takes no stance on that question.
A Taiwanese editor, tapped to head a men's fashion magazine in China, was replaced at the last minute, allegedly due to a ribbon he wore at a farewell party that read "take back the mainland". "We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens".
Those airlines included American carriers, and the White House response on Saturday was swift, reports Reuters. "China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted".
"This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies".
According to a Chinese foreign ministry statement late on Saturday, Mr Yang told Mr Pompeo that the two countries should strengthen exchanges, maintain close communication over economic and trade issues and respect each other's "core interests and major concerns".
As of Monday afternoon, the post had attracted more than 23,000 comments, a lot of them critical of the US.