China on Monday (10 July) said that the White House had apologised for the gaffe it made during the G20 summit by wrongly addressing Xi Jinping as the president of "Republic of China", which is actually the official name of Taiwan.

"According to my understanding, the Chinese side has already raised this with the United States side," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a daily press briefing.

"The United States side apologized and said this was a technological error that has already been corrected," he added.

The erroneous goof-up was made in the heading of a White House transcript released on Saturday (8 July). It was about the presidential remarks before a bilateral meeting between Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the recently concluded G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Xi Jinping is the president of the People's Republic of China.

There have been speculations if the White House made the mistake intentionally in light of Trump's previous remarks on Taiwan and his initial hesitation to abide by the 'One China' policy, Beijing's state-run newspaper the Global Times noted.

Although Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the policy during a call with Xi in February, the Republican had previously breached diplomatic protocol by speaking to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in December last year, soon after his historic win in the November US elections.

It resulted in Beijing casting doubt over the president and his administration's commitment to 'one China' principle, even before Trump took office.

The already troubled China-US ties were further strained when Trump said in an interview with Fox News in December that the US did not necessarily have to be bound to the principle.

The issue of Taiwan is very sensitive to China because the mainland considers it as its breakaway province.

Donald Trump Xi Jinping
US President Donald Trump's administration wrongly addressed Xi Jinping (right) as president of Republic of China, which is actually Taiwan Carlos Barria/Reuters

Chinese scholars believe the mistaken identity of addressing Xi as Taiwan's president shows a lack of competence in the White House, the Associated Press reported. They said such errors are not conducive to health US-China relations.

"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," Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at China Renmin University, said.

"It will only make the Chinese people look down upon the American government for it to make such a low-level mistake."

The gaffe was just one of a handful of misnomers that the White House issued during the G20 summit.

In a separate incident, a White House press readout labelled Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the president of the Far East country.

In addition, Trump's Instagram account wrongly identified Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The errors were soon rectified.

These blunders were not the first time the White House misspelt or misidentified Trump's contemporaries.

In January, the White House misspelt British Prime Minister Theresa May's name as "Teresa May" – not once, but three times.

The typos occurred in a running order for a meeting between Trump and May in Washington, DC on 27 January, in which the British PM's name was listed as "Teresa May".

Teresa May is actually a 1990s glamour model who starred in films such as Whitehouse: The Sex Video, Leather Lust, and The Prodigy's video for Smack My Bitch Up.