Three weeks into his presidency, Mr Trump dropped the gambit, paving the way for a phone call with Mr Xi and kicking off a relationship between the two which led to meetings at Mar-a-Lago in April and at the G-20 on Saturday (July 8).
Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday to put aside "distractions" that have strained bilateral ties and warned that China was unwilling to compromise on Taiwan, state news agency Xinhua said. Chinese scholars said the error shows a lack of competence in the White House that is not conducive to healthy U.S. Though Trump defended the call at the time, he later told Xi he would honor the "one China" policy and not recognize Taiwan's status as a sovereign nation.
In a statement issued after Xi and US President Donald Trump met in Germany on the side-lines of G20, the White House press office described Xi as the president of the Republic of China, the formal name for Taiwan. Mr Trump's Instagram account briefly identified Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore as President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, Singapore news outlets reported.
The Chinese leader has told Trump previously that Beijing expects Washington to continue managing relations based on the "One China" principle that rules out formal contacts with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.
Mr Trump later suggested that he might not be bound by the One China policy, but he reaffirmed it during a call with Mr Xi in February.
"It is basic knowledge for those working in diplomacy, yet this isolated incident shows how incompetent the White House staff are, how casual they are, and how poorly coordinated they are", observed Shi Yinhong, a professor of global relations at the Renmin University of China. "The mistake itself may not affect China-U.S. relations, but the White House should draw a lesson from it to improve its work flow".