Quote from JJ:
"It was fun to use the Romulans the way we did. The fact that they hadn't seen them for so many years, that it so immediately breaks - for anyone who knows - the rules of Trek. We start the movie with Romulans crossing paths with Starfleet and jump right in breaking the rules, which I think is kind of fun."
Doesn't matter. Rules are being broken. Timelines being changed. This ain't your father's Star Trek anymore.