U.S.-China summit

On April 06 and 07, American President Donald Trump and the Chinese counterpart xi Jinping met in a Presidential Submit at Mar-a-Lago, an estate and National Historic Landmark in Palm Beach, Florida (owned by Donald Trump). Trump has frequently stayed at Mar-a-Lago, referring to it as his “Southern White House”. It is the 20th largest mansion in the United States. In the summit unpredictable Trump not only set a different tone contrary to his harsh and aggressive style, but also avoided any public lapses in protocol that Chinese officials had feared could embarrass their leader. The two leaders claimed to have made considerable progress in their relationship and committed to make additional progress on outstanding issues to eventually remove potentially bad problems. But they did not give any detail. Xi Jinping also spoke in mostly positive terms and claimed engagement with US President with deeper understanding. He claimed that friendly relationship between the two countries and trust would lead to peace and stability of the world, and thus two countries will also “fulfill our historical responsibility.” Both of the leaders expressed their agreement on their respective claims.

Although Donald Trump spoke publicly of progress on a range of issues in his first U.S.-China summit – as did several of his top aides, they provided few concrete specifics other than China’s agreement to work together to narrow disagreements and find common ground for cooperation. Both the leaders stressed the positive mood of the meetings while papering over deep differences that have caused friction between the world’s two biggest economies.

On Trade Deficit

Trump’s aides insisted he had made good on his pledge to raise concerns about China’s trade practices and said there was some headway, with Xi agreeing to a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting U.S. exports and reducing China’s trade surplus ($347 billion) with the United States. Trump had promised during the campaign to stop what he called the theft of American jobs by China. Many blue-collar workers helped propel him to his unexpected election victory on Nov. 8 and Trump is under pressure to deliver for them. The US President had also called China a currency manipulator during his election campaign, but in course of talks this issue was not raised directly.

On North Korea and South China Sea

Speaking after the two-day summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said that Xi had agreed to increased cooperation in reining in North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs – though he did not offer any new formula for cracking Pyongyang’s defiant attitude.Tillerson said Xi agreed with Trump that North Korea’s nuclear advances had reached a “very serious stage.” He said Trump also raised U.S. concerns about China’s activities in the South China Sea. Beijing is building and fortifying islands in pursuit of expansive territorial claims in the strategic waterway.

Invitation to US to join OBOR initiative of China

China’s official Xinhua news agency said Xi had encouraged the United States to take part in the “One Belt, One Road” plan, Xi’s signature foreign policy imitative aimed at infrastructure development across Asia, Africa and Europe, seen in some policy circles as a partial answer to the pivot to Asia strategy of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Subtle reference to military exchanges

Xi Jinping hailed military to military exchanges and said China and the United States should “make good use of the dialogue mechanism to be established between the two countries’ joint staffs of the armed forces.” Details of the same were not available.

Assessment of Outcomes

 Chinese state media cheered the meeting as one that showed the world that confrontation between the two powers was not inevitable and established the tone for the development of U.S.-China relations. But in a sign that rough spots remained, Tillerson afterwards described the discussions as “very frank and candid.” According to him President Trump and President Xi agreed to work in concert to expand areas of cooperation while managing differences based on mutual respect. Bonhomie extended after the meeting as Trump took Xi on a walk around the manicured grounds of his lavish Spanish-style complex. Trump could be seen chatting and gesturing to Xi, who did the same. Tillerson said Trump had accepted Xi’s invitation to visit China and that they also agreed to upgrade a U.S.-China dialogue by putting the two presidents at the head of the forum. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Chinese had expressed an interest in reducing China’s trade surplus as a way of controlling their own inflation.  He asserted that it is the first time he heard China say that in a bilateral context. Ross declined to say whether the United States was ready to designate China a currency manipulator, however, referring to an upcoming report in which that issue would be addressed. Although Trump during the presidential election campaign had pledged to label China a currency manipulator on the first day of his administration, he has refrained from doing so.

The highly anticipated U.S.-China summit was upstaged by U.S. missile strikes overnight against a Syrian air base from which Trump said a deadly chemical weapon attack had been launched earlier in the week. It was the first direct U.S. assault on the Russian-backed government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war. The swift action in Syria could be interpreted as a signal especially to defiant nuclear-armed North Korea – and by extension, its ally China – as well as other countries like Iran and Russia of Trump’s willingness to use military force. North Korea is developing missiles capable of hitting the United States.

Background

“America First” slogan brought Republican Mr. Donald Trump to power as people believed that he would curb trade deficit with China and contain China in South China Sea, promote domestic industries and create more employment, make outsourcing from countries like India difficult to protect IT jobs for Americans. He also promised to stop illegal migration from Central America and Mexico and renegotiate NAFTA. This is other thing that as apprehended earlier, the new President is unable to deliver on his promises. He has already failed in Congress to replace Obamacare (healthcare bill) and stop sanctions against Russia and establish a new bonhomie with it. Now his sons are embroiled in maneuver of election campaigning with Russian agents.

  China on the other hand is a rising power. It is leading globalization 2.0 through its umpteen initiatives such as One Belt One Road, Maritime Silk Route, Asian Infrastructure Bank and New Development Bank of BRICS. China is the manufacturing hub of the world, but today it is trying to export its excess capacity through big projects like China Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC). It is the largest trading partner of almost all the developing countries and many developed countries. China is, therefore, also trying to take advantage of the US leaving out the Trans-Pacific Partnership. China wants to speed up a regional trade group known as Regional Economic and Cooperation and Partnership with ASEAN plus 6 that includes Australia and India.  President Donald Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear program and help reduce the gaping U.S. trade deficit with Beijing in talks on Friday, even as he toned down the strident anti-China rhetoric of his election campaign.

 

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