Archive for ‘President Xi’

11/04/2019

Xi meets with Myanmar’s commander-in-chief of defense services

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-MYANMAR-MEETING (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, April 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday.

Noting the long-standing “Paukphaw” (fraternal) friendship between China and Myanmar, Xi spoke of the sound development of bilateral relations at present, the expanding exchanges and cooperation in various fields and at various levels, and new progress in the Belt and Road cooperation.

China attaches great importance to China-Myanmar relations, Xi said, noting that no matter how the international situation changes, China is willing as always to strengthen strategic communication with Myanmar, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and constantly enrich the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, so as to bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples and contribute joint efforts to regional stability and prosperity.

Xi said China-Myanmar military cooperation is an important part of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

The armed forces of the two countries should deepen practical exchanges and cooperation, and work together to build a military-to-military relationship based on mutual trust and benefit and devoted to safeguarding the common security and development interests of the two countries, Xi said.

Xi said China supports Myanmar’s peace process and pays attention to the development of situation in northern Myanmar. He expressed the hope that Myanmar will work with China to further strengthen border management and jointly safeguard border security and stability.

Noting the long-standing traditional friendship between Myanmar and China and the sound development of bilateral and military-to-military ties, Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar appreciates China’s long-term and valuable assistance to the national and military development of Myanmar and the support to its peace process.

He said Myanmar welcomes, supports and stands ready to actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen practical cooperation with China in various fields, and take practical measures to safeguard stability in the Myanmar-China border areas.

Li Zuocheng, member of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) and chief of staff of the Joint Staff of the CMC, and other officials were present at the meeting.

Source: Xinhua

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10/04/2019

Peng Liyuan meets wife of Cuba’s president

CHINA-BEIJING-PENG LIYUAN-CUBA-MEETING (CN)

Peng Liyuan (R), wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, meets with Lis Cuesta Peraza, wife of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, in Beijing, capital of China, April 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)

BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) — Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, met here Tuesday with Lis Cuesta Peraza, wife of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Peng asked Lis Cuesta Peraza to convey President Xi’s sincere regards to Miguel Diaz-Canel, saying the visit by Lis Cuesta Peraza fully demonstrated their friendship with China and the Chinese people.

Peng said the two countries share a profound traditional friendship, and the new generation of Cuban leaders actively support the construction of the Belt and Road and are committed to strengthening all-round bilateral cooperation. She expressed the hope that Sino-Cuban cooperation would score fruitful results and bilateral friendship last forever.

Peng spoke highly of Lis Cuesta Peraza’s active efforts to promote bilateral people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and expressed the hope that the two countries would cement exchanges and cooperation in culture, art and tourism.

Peng also introduced her work as UNESCO special envoy for the advancement of girls’ and women’s education and a WHO goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, shared China’s experience in promoting education and health and expressed the hope that the two countries would enhance exchanges and cooperation in these fields.

Lis Cuesta Peraza asked Peng to convey the greetings and good wishes of Miguel Diaz-Canel to President Xi, saying that the Cuban people love Chinese culture and are full of friendly feelings toward the Chinese people.

Lis Cuesta Peraza said Cuba admires the achievements China has made in the past 70 years and expressed gratitude to China for its long-term support and help.

She said the Cuban side is willing to take the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and consolidate the Cuba-China friendship.

Source: Xinhua

21/03/2019

President Xi meets Harvard president

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-HARVARD PRESIDENT-MEETING (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with president of Harvard University Lawrence Bacow at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 20, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping met with president of Harvard University Lawrence Bacow in Beijing Wednesday and expressed the hope that Sino-U.S. cultural and people-to-people exchanges could produce more positive results.

Noting that this is Bacow first overseas visit after taking office, Xi said the tour showcases the importance attached by Bacow to Sino-U.S. education exchanges.

Xi said education exchanges and cooperation are an important part of Sino-U.S. relations and help enhance the public opinion of the bilateral friendship. China advocates mutual learning, encourages Chinese students to study abroad and supports education exchanges and cooperation with other countries.

Xi said that he felt very happy that U.S. President Donald Trump also expressed support for bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in their meeting in Argentina at the end of last year.

Xi stressed that over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China’s rapid development has also benefited from the improvement of education. China is committed to advancing the modernization of education and making its education system satisfying for its people.

“We will expand the opening up of education, strengthen exchanges and experiences sharing with countries around the world, and jointly promote the development of education,” said Xi, expressing the willingness to conduct more extensive exchanges and cooperation with U.S. educational and research institutions such as Harvard University.

Bacow said he is visiting not only as the president of Harvard University but also as a representative of U.S. universities to promote education exchanges with China.

He said maintaining and deepening exchanges and cooperation between the two countries’ education and cultural institutions is crucial to promoting U.S.-China relations in the long run. Hailing the popularity of the Chinese language at Harvard, Bacow boasted that Harvard has a large number of Chinese students.

Bacow said it is admirable that the Chinese government attaches great importance to higher education and makes huge efforts in this regard, noting that Harvard will continue to promote exchanges and cooperation with Chinese educational and scientific research institutions.

Source: Xinhua

13/03/2019

Xi stresses timely completion of military development goals

(TWO SESSIONS)CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-NPC-PLA AND ARMED POLICE-PLENARY MEETING (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, meets with deputies from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police before attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the PLA and armed police at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, capital of China, March 12, 2019. Xi delivered an important speech at the meeting on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Tuesday stressed fulfilling the set targets and tasks of national defense and military development as scheduled.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks when attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police force at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s national legislature.

This year is the key year for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The entire armed forces must clearly understand the importance and urgency of implementing the 13th Five-Year Plan for military development, firm up their resolve, intensify the sense of mission, forge ahead with a pioneering spirit, and go all out to carry out the plan so as to ensure that the set targets and tasks are fulfilled as scheduled, he said.

Xi called on the whole army to adhere to the guidance of the thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, fully implement the Party’s thinking on strengthening the military for the new era and the military strategy for new conditions, concentrate on war preparedness, and intensify reform and innovation.

On implementation of the plan, Xi stressed that it is imperative to strengthen overall planning and coordination, as well as make breakthroughs in key areas.

Xi pointed out that it is necessary to take into consideration the overall situation and coordinate the task plans, resources, and management procedures to ensure orderly advancement of various projects.

Focusing on the overall layout of the plan, the military should give prominence to key projects including urgent necessities for military preparedness, crucial support for combat systems, and coordinated projects for the reform of national defense and armed forces, he noted.

Xi stressed the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan for military development should serve the demands of the national development, security and military strategies, and should take into account both the actual condition and long-term development needs.

Source: Xinhua

11/03/2019

Xi joins deliberation with Fujian deputies at annual legislative session

  • (TWO SESSIONS)CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-NPC-DELIBERATION (CN)

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, joins deliberation with deputies from Fujian Province at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

    BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Sunday afternoon joined deliberation with deputies from Fujian Province at the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China’s national legislature.

    “[We] should create a favorable development environment for innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity,” said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

    China should seek momentum from reform and opening up, unleash to the maximum the whole society’s power for innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity, and keep improving the country’s influence and competitiveness in a world that is undergoing profound changes, Xi said.

    Xi stressed creating favorable conditions for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and young people, and establishing an acceleration mechanism for high-tech companies.

    He urged solid implementation of the policies and measures to encourage, guide and support the development of the private sector.

    Fujian must leverage the combined strengths of the special economic zone, pilot free trade zone, comprehensive experimental zone and the core zone of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and keep exploring new approaches, Xi said.

    Xi called for efforts to explore new ways for integrated development across the Taiwan Strait.

    The two sides of the Taiwan Strait should enhance economic and trade cooperation, infrastructure connectivity, energy and resource exchanges, and shared industry standards, he said.

    Cross-Strait cooperation and cultural exchanges should be strengthened, he added.

    Xi stressed the importance of implementing the people-centered development concept in the work on Taiwan, urging efforts to benefit Taiwan compatriots in the same way as people on the mainland are served.

    He encouraged listening to the voice of Taiwan compatriots and research on what other policies and measures can be introduced to bring them benefits.

    Xi said that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, and it is necessary to ensure that no one in the country’s old revolutionary base areas falls behind in the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

    He called for adherence to targeted poverty alleviation and efforts to identify the root causes of poverty to enhance the effectiveness of anti-poverty measures.

    More efforts should be put into coordinating economic development with ecological protection, Xi said.

    Source: Xinhua

09/03/2019

China exports saw biggest fall in three years in February

Men stand on a port in ChinaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Chinese exports saw the steepest fall in three years in February, adding to worries about growth in the world’s second largest economy.

Official data show exports from China plunged 20.7% from a year earlier, as its trade war with the US took a toll.

Imports fell 5.2% and the figures sent Asia stock markets sharply lower.

Economists caution the data for the first two months of the year can be affected by the Lunar New Year holiday.

The fall in exports was far bigger than the 4.8% drop forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

Imports also saw a sharper than expected fall of 5.2% year-on-year, the data showed.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics said even accounting for seasonal distortions, the figures were “downbeat”.

“Tariffs are weighing on shipments to the US,” he wrote in a research note.

The US and China have placed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods since July, casting a shadow over the global economy.

Even though officials have sounded more positive about negotiations with the US recently, failure to achieve a deal would see tariffs on $200bn (£152bn) of Chinese goods rise almost immediately and could see the US impose fresh tariffs.

Still, Mr Evans-Pritchard said “broader weakness in global demand means that, even if Trump and Xi finalise a trade deal soon, the outlook for exports remains gloomy.”

The data comes as Beijing this week unveiled $298bn worth of tax cuts to boost slowing growth.

Source: The BBC

07/03/2019

In sensitive year for China, warnings against ‘erroneous thoughts’

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party is ramping up calls for political loyalty in a year of sensitive anniversaries, warning against “erroneous thoughts” as officials fall over themselves to pledge allegiance to President Xi Jinping and his philosophy.

This year is marked by some delicate milestones: 30 years since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square; 60 years since the Dalai Lama fled from Tibet into exile; and finally, on Oct. 1, 70 years since the founding of Communist China.

Born of turmoil and revolution, the Communist Party came to power in 1949 on the back of decades of civil war in which millions died, and has always been on high alert for “luan”, or “chaos”, and valued stability above all else.

“This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of new China,” Xi told legislators from Inner Mongolia on Tuesday, the opening day of the annual meeting of parliament. “Maintaining sustained, healthy economic development and social stability is a mission that is extremely arduous.”

Xi has tightened the party’s grip on almost every facet of government and life since assuming power in late 2012.

ROOTING OUT DISLOYALTY

The party has increasingly been making rooting out disloyalty and wavering from the party line a disciplinary offence to be enforced by its anti-corruption watchdog, whose role had ostensibly been to go after criminal acts such as bribery and lesser bureaucratic transgressions.

The graft buster said last month it would “uncover political deviation” in its political inspections this year of provincial governments and ministries.

Top graft buster Zhao Leji, in a January speech to the corruption watchdog, a full transcript of which the party released late February, used the word “loyalty” eight times.

“Set an example with your loyalty to the party,” Zhao said.

China has persistently denied its war on corruption is about political manoeuvring or Xi taking down his enemies. Xi told an audience in Seattle in 2015 that the anti-graft fight was no “House of Cards”-style power play, in a reference to the Netflix U.S. political drama.

The deeper fear for the party is some sort of unrest or a domestic or even international event fomenting a crisis that could end its rule.

Xi told officials in January they need to be on high alert for “black swan” events..

That same month the top law-enforcement official said China’s police must focus on withstanding “colour revolutions”, or popular uprisings, and treat the defence of China’s political system as central to their work.

The party has meanwhile shown no interest in political reform, and has been doubling down on the merits of the Communist Party, including this month rolling out English-language propaganda videos on state media-run Twitter accounts to laud “Chinese democracy”. Twitter remains blocked in China.

The official state news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary on Sunday that China was determined to stick to its political model and rejected Western-style democracy.
“The country began to learn about democracy a century ago, but soon found Western politics did not work here. Decades of turmoil and civil war followed,” it said.
Source: Reuters
22/02/2019

Saudi Arabia strikes $10 billion China deal, talks de-radicalisation with Xi

BEIJING (Reuters) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cemented a $10 billion (7.7 billion pounds) deal for a refining and petrochemical complex in China on Friday, meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping who urged joint efforts to counter extremism and terror.

The Saudi delegation, including top executives from state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, arrived on Thursday on an Asia tour that has already seen the kingdom pledge investment of $20 billion in Pakistan and seek to make additional investments in India’s refining industry.

Saudi Arabia signed 35 economic cooperation agreements with China worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum during the visit, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

“China is a good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia,” President Xi Jinping told the crown prince in front of reporters.

“The special nature of our bilateral relationship reflects the efforts you have made,” added Xi, who has made stepping up China’s presence in the Middle East a key foreign policy objective, despite its traditional low-key role there.

The crown prince said Saudi Arabia’s relations with China dated back “a very long time in the past”.

“In the hundreds, even thousands, of years, the interactions between the sides have been friendly. Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China,” he said.

Crown Prince Mohammed, who has come under fire in the West following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October, said Saudi Arabia saw great opportunities with China.

“The Silk Road initiative and China’s strategic orientation are very much in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he said according to SPA, referring to Saudi Arabia’s sweeping economic reform programme.

 

Trade between the countries increased by 32 percent last year, he said.

China has had to step carefully in relations with Riyadh, since Beijing also has close ties with Saudi Arabia’s regional foe, Iran.

China is also wary of criticism from Muslim countries about its camps in the heavily Muslim far western region of Xinjiang, which the government says are for de-radicalisation purposes and rights groups call internment camps.

Xi told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking”, Chinese state television said.

Saudi Arabia respected and supported China’s right to protect its own security and take counter-terror and de-radicalisation steps, the crown prince told Xi, according to the same report, and was willing to increase cooperation.

Meeting the crown prince earlier on Friday, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng said the two countries should enhance exchanges on their experiences in de-radicalisation, China’s official Xinhua news agency said in a separate report.

Chinese state media made no direct mention of Xinjiang in their stories on the crown prince’s meetings.

DEALS SIGNED

Aramco agreed to form a joint venture with Chinese defence conglomerate Norinco to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in the northeastern Chinese city of Panjin, saying the project was worth more than $10 billion.

The partners would form a company called Huajin Aramco Petrochemical Co as part of a project that would include a 300,000-barrels per day (bpd) refinery with a 1.5-million-metric tonnes per year ethylene cracker, Aramco said.

Aramco will supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the complex, which is expected to start operations in 2024.

The investments could help Saudi Arabia regain its place as the top oil exporter to China, a position Russia has held for the last three years. Saudi Aramco is set to boost market share by signing supply deals with non-state Chinese refiners.

Aramco also signed an agreement to buy a 9 percent stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical, Saudi state news agency SPA said. This formalised a previously announced plan to gain a stake in a 400,000-bpd refinery and petrochemicals complex in Zhoushan, south of Shanghai.

China sees “enormous potential” in Saudi Arabia’s economy and wants more high-tech cooperation, State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, said on Thursday.

But China was not seeking to play politics in the Middle East, the widely read state-run tabloid, the Global Times, said in an editorial.

“China won’t be a geopolitical player in the Middle East. It has no enemies and can cooperate with all countries in the region,” said the paper, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.

“China’s increasing influence in the Middle East comes from pure friendly cooperation. Such a partnership will be welcomed by more countries in the Middle East.”

Source: Reuters

18/02/2019

China applauds ‘positive’ Donald Trump tweet, hopes for US trade war deal ahead of Washington talks

    • Opinion piece in major state media outlets is seen to be part of Beijing’s efforts to reassure its citizens that the tariff war with the United States will soon be over
    • A Chinese delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He is expected to leave on Tuesday for the American capital after last week’s trade talks in Beijing produced ‘progress’

    China applauds ‘positive’ Donald Trump tweet ahead of Washington talks

    18 Feb 2019

    China and US make ‘progress’ but talks to head to Washington next week

    16 Feb 2019

    Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for a “mutually beneficial” trade deal in this week’s talks when he met US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua. Photo: Xinhua
    Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for a “mutually beneficial” trade deal in this week’s talks when he met US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua. Photo: Xinhua

    A tweet by US President Donald Trump on the ongoing trade war is a “positive” signal, brightening prospects of a deal from this week’s talks in Washington, according to an opinion piece published by China’s major state media outlets on Monday.

    Monday’s opinion piece was published the day before a Chinese delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He is expected to leave for talks in Washington.

    In the tweet on Sunday, Trump said: “Important meetings and calls on China trade deal, and more, today with my staff. Big progress being made on soooo many different fronts! Our country has such fantastic potential for future growth and greatness on an even higher level!”

    The opinion piece, which was published by the official Xinhua news agency, the People’s Daily and the Global Times under the pseudonym Niu Tanqin, is seen to be part of Beijing’s efforts to reassure its citizens that the trade war with the United States will soon be over.

    It did contrast previous columns on Trump by the same author, who in March last year argued that China dislikes the American president for his “insatiable demands, greediness and lack of trust worthiness”.

    Last week’s trade talks in Beijing produced “progress” ahead of the March 1 deadline, which could see tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent if the world’s two largest economies fail to reach a deal.

    The outcome of the talks in Washington, which are likely to be the last before March 1, will largely decide whether China and the United States can reach a pact, likely in the form of a memorandum of understanding, to suspend the tariff battle that has been roiling global markets and clouding growth prospects since last year.

    According to the opinion piece, Trump’s use of “soooo” instead of “so” indicated that the US president was excited when he heard reports from his trade envoys following the talks in Beijing, which Chinese President Xi Jinping attend on Friday.

    Donald J. Trump

    @realDonaldTrump

    Important meetings and calls on China Trade Deal, and more, today with my staff. Big progress being made on soooo many different fronts! Our Country has such fantastic potential for future growth and greatness on an even higher level!

    “The US side is attaching great importance [to the trade talks]. Although Trump is on vacation, he listened to relevant reports and he definitely will make specific instructions,” it added.

    Trump has been upbeat about the prospects of reaching a trade deal with China, and said on Friday at the White House: “It’s going extremely well.”

    Chinese President Xi urged for a “mutually beneficial” trade deal in this week’s talks when he met US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, according to Xinhua.

    Stocks in China and Hong Kong surged on Monday, partly bolstered by the increased likelihood of a trade deal between China and the United States.

    Monday’s opinion piece fits into the latest official line that an agreement is very likely to end the tariff war after the Global Times said over the weekend that the bilateral trade talks are “sprinting” towards a positive end.

    Donald Trump’s demands ‘good for China’, says economist Jin Keyu

    Meanwhile, reports in China suggest differences between Beijing and Washington still remain over forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, cyber theft as well as a verification system to ensure China keeps its promises.

    Xi told the US trade envoys that China is willing to “cooperate” but “cooperation has principals”, a statement showing that Beijing will not entertain US demands if it finds such demands violate China’s principals.

    A White House statement on Friday said that “much work remains”, showing gaps still exist.

    Source: SCMP

16/02/2019

As the clock ticks, there’s a path to a ‘win-win’ outcome in US-China trade talks

  • Ankit Panda writes that a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping could result in a way out of the impasse, at least temporarily
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2019, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2019, 6:04pm

The usual cast of characters were back at the negotiating table, trying to find a way to stem another round of US tariff increases that were stayed in December after the Buenos Aires G20 meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were back in Beijing, where they again sat across the table from Vice-Premier Liu He, China’s lead trade negotiator. The US delegation also met Xi himself at the end of the talks on Friday.

Both nations said they had made progress to settle their disputes, but admitted there were still difficult issues to deal with. Negotiators will continue the talks in Washington next week.

The stakes are clear and the clock is ticking. The two sides need to arrive at an understanding by March 2, the day on which Trump has said he will move forward with an increase in tariffs.

At least that was the idea. In recent days, Trump has made multiple remarks that suggest the March deadline is anything but absolute. He has hinted he would be open to pushing it back if he sensed that a deal was around the corner. Reports have even suggested the White House is considering another 60-day extension of the tariff truce.

“They’re showing us tremendous respect,” Trump said of China’s attitude in the negotiations, adding that talks were “going along very well”. With Trump slated to travel to Asia at the end of the month for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, the prospect of a second meeting between him and Xi – right before the anticipated deadline – is very real. What’s slowly slipping through the cracks in this process is a sustainable and long-term agreement on structural reform in China, which is what’s been at the centre of the Trump administration’s trade grievances.

Already articulated US concerns cover a broad range of Chinese practices. The ideal short-term measures the American side would like to see include unconditional market access for US firms in China; a less insulated environment for state-owned enterprise decision making; greater regulatory transparency; and fairer legal protections for American businesses in China.

As with so many aspects of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, the US president’s personality is taking over the process, leaving his deputies who are doing the negotiating in a disadvantageous position. For China, the obvious answer then becomes not to discuss the nuances of what kinds of structural reform might be necessary with Lighthizer, but to simply get Xi in the room with Trump.

This mirrors the lesson that North Korea’s Kim has taken away over the course of nearly a year of negotiations with the US. Instead of expending any serious diplomatic capital in a detail oriented negotiation with the secretary of state or the president’s special representative, the key is to simply meet Trump and work out high-level arrangements mano a mano.

In this climate, we can’t expect a real resolution on the core issues. Everything from American misgivings about Beijing’s interventionist industrial policies that protect Chinese enterprises to broader structural shifts in the nature of the US-China economic relationship since the turn of the century are on the table today – and they’ll stay there.

Xi and Trump may well find a temporary way out of the impasse, giving global investors the runway necessary to avert the panic that would likely ensue if the US pushed ahead with a tariff increase on US$200 billion in Chinese goods. Even if China doesn’t quite give the United States a down payment on structural reforms, Xi can promise Trump that he will chip away at the trade deficit while leaving untouched the issues that a more detail oriented negotiator like Lighthizer might zero in on.

If there is a “win-win” outcome here, it would be for Trump and Xi to find an agreeable arrangement that would allow the US president to walk away looking tough to his base while leaving China’s core, long-term industrial policy trajectory unharmed. That would strip away any remaining negotiating leverage the US side might have within the trade war, and it’s not unlikely.

Source: SCMP

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