While preparing to take leave from Beijing, President Trump called Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader “a very powerful and respected representative of the people in his country”. He also tweeted about how he was eager to build better relationships with the country in the future.
A large number of people were expecting that there would be a host of intense meetings focusing on the nuclear ambitions of North Korea during Trump’s visit. And of course, there was the trade issue between China and the US to deal with. The American president left the continent saying that the meetings were quite “productive”. Mr. Xi, on the other hand, said that the Washington-Beijing relationship was at a fresh, starting point.
China not responsible for trade issues: Trump
After announcing the new business agreements between Chinese and American companies (worth approximately $250bn), Trump said that America and China need to urgently address the various unfair trade regimes which are responsible for trade deficits. He added that other issues which need attention include hindrances to market gains, theft of intellectual property and forced transfer of technology.
However, Trump says that he does not blame China. He added that it is impossible to blame a nation that was successful in taking advantage of another nation to benefit its citizens. A tweet followed this comment where Trump said that he would probably do the same.
Mr. Xi, in his response to the American president, promised that China would ensure a more welcoming and open environment for international companies. He reinstated the country’s commitment to de-nuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
Tillerson intervenes to offer reality check
The officials of the Trump administration had been hoping that the close relationship between Trump and the Chinese president would help in overcoming any hurdles that came up during the discussions. However, the two leaders might have taken the mutual love a bit too far, and Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, had to come in and inject some rationality into the proceedings.
According to Tillerson, while the US values the effort and long hours spent by its Chinese counterparts in the trade discussions, the key issue of a major trade deficit ($300-$500 billion) still needs a lot of work to be sorted. The gross surplus with America for the initial ten months of 2017 was $223bn.