Andrew Galbraith and Dominique Patton July 16, 2017 / 5:07 PM / 14 hours ago
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – Bilateral talks aimed at reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China have yielded some initial deals, but U.S. firms say much more needs to be done as a deadline for a 100-day action plan expires on Sunday.
The negotiations, which began in April, have reopened China’s market to U.S. beef after 14 years and prompted Chinese pledges to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas. American firms have also been given access to some parts of China’s financial services sector.
More details on the 100-day plan are expected to be announced in the coming week as senior U.S. and Chinese officials gather in Washington for annual bilateral economic talks, rebranded this year as the “U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.”
“We hope to report further progress on the 100-day deliverables next week,” a U.S. Commerce Department spokesman said on Saturday. “That will be the basis for judging the extent of progress.”
The spokesman declined to discuss potential areas for new agreements since a May 11 announcement on beef, chicken, financial services and LNG.
Earlier in April, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time at his Florida resort, Xi agreed to a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting U.S. exports and trimming the U.S. trade deficit with China.
The U.S. goods trade deficit with China reached $347 billion last year. The gap in the first five months of 2017 widened about 5.3 percent from a year earlier, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
“It is an excellent momentum builder, but much more needs to be done for U.S.-China commercial negotiations to be considered a success,” said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) in Beijing.
There has been little sign of progress in soothing the biggest trade irritants, such as U.S. demands that China cut excess capacity in steel and aluminum production, lack of access for U.S. firms to China’s services market, and U.S. national security curbs on high-tech exports to China.
The Trump administration is considering broad tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum on national security grounds, partly in response to what it views as a glut of Chinese production that is flooding international markets and driving down prices.
North Korea has cast a long shadow over the relationship, after Pyongyang tested what some experts have described as an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.
Trump has linked progress in trade to China’s ability to rein in North Korea, which counts on Beijing as its chief friend and ally.
“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” Trump said on Twitter after the North Korean missile test.
American beef is now available in Chinese shops for the first time since a 2003 U.S. case of “mad cow” disease, giving U.S. ranchers access to a rapidly growing market worth around $2.6 billion last year.
More beef deals were signed during an overseas buying mission by the Chinese last week.
“There are hopes there will be even more concrete results,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing on Friday. He did not elaborate.
Critics of the 100-day process said China had already agreed to lift its ban on U.S. beef last September, with officials just needing to finalize details on quarantine requirements.
China, meanwhile, has delivered its first batch of cooked chicken to U.S. ports after years of negotiating for access to the market.
But unlike the rush by Chinese consumers for a first taste of American beef, Chinese poultry processors have not had a flurry of orders for cooked chicken.
Demand should improve once China is allowed to ship Chinese grown, processed and cooked chicken to the United States, said Li Wei, export manager at Qingdao Nine Alliance Group, China’s top exporter of processed poultry.
Other sectors in China under U.S. pressure to open up have moved more slowly.
Beijing had only approved two of the eight biotech crops waiting for import approval, despite gathering experts to review the crops on two occasions in a six-week period.
U.S. industry officials had signalled they were expecting more approvals. U.S. executives say the review process still lacks transparency.
Financial services is another area where little progress has been made, U.S. officials say.
USCBC’s Parker said it is unclear how long it will take for foreign credit rating agencies to be approved, or whether U.S.-owned suppliers of electronic payment services will be able to secure licenses.
The bilateral talks have also not addressed restrictions on foreign investment in life insurance and securities trading, or “the many challenges foreign companies face in China’s cybersecurity enforcement environment,” Parker said.
In an annual report released Thursday, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said China remained a “difficult market”.
Additional reporting by David Lawder in WASHINGTON, Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Ryan Woo and Bill Tarrant
Source: Reuters “U.S.-China trade talks sputtering at 100-day deadline”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Adam Jourdan and Philip Wen July 15, 2017 / 9:58 AM / 6 hours ago
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Saturday named rising political star Chen Miner as Communist Party boss in southwestern Chongqing, cementing his reputation as a favorite of President Xi Jinping ahead of a leadership reshuffle at a key party congress in the autumn.
The elevation of Chen, a trusted confidant of Xi, is a sign the president is flexing his political muscles as he maneuvers to line up a new Politburo Standing Committee, the apex of political power in China.
Chen previously worked under Xi in Zhejiang province, where Xi was then provincial party leader, and has since ridden the coat-tails of his former boss, climbing rapidly through the party ranks. Foreign diplomats who have met Chen say he talks openly about his closeness to Xi.
Chen, who moves to Chongqing from the poor southwestern province of Guizhou, takes over from Sun Zhengcai, the official news agency Xinhua said, without saying where Sun would go next or including wording to suggest he would get another position.
Chongqing television’s main evening news showed Chen giving a speech to senior city officials, telling them he would not let down the party’s trust in giving him such an important job. His predecessor Sun did not appear to be present in the meeting.
Chongqing is perhaps best known for its association with its disgraced former party boss Bo Xilai, once himself a contender for top leadership before being jailed for life in 2013 in a dramatic corruption scandal.
Chen said officials must “resolutely eliminate the malign influence” of the Bo case, Chongqing television reported.
Sun had been seen as another potential candidate for elevation at the autumn congress, but his star has waned.
Sources with ties to the leadership and foreign diplomats say Sun has been out of favor after the party’s anti-corruption watchdog this year criticized Chongqing authorities for not doing enough to root out Bo’s influence.
Chen was made Guizhou deputy party secretary in 2012, but was promoted to governor less than a year later and within roughly a month of Xi becoming president, before moving up again to his role as Guizhou party boss in 2015.
Sources with ties to the leadership had said Chen could jump straight into the Standing Committee with Xi’s support potentially easing out contenders from rival factions, though Chen is still considered a dark horse candidate.
The switch from Guizhou to the more high-profile Chongqing role signals that Chen is virtually assured of a Politburo spot. But the change so close to the 19th Party Congress may mean he has to wait longer for further promotion, as it would be unusual to move the holder of such an important post within months.
For decades, Guizhou was one of China’s most backward provinces, but in recent years the central government has poured in billions of yuan, with a focus on poverty alleviation and big data.
Xinhua said Guizhou governor Sun Zhigang, who is not related to Sun Zhengcai, had taken over as the province’s party chief.
Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Stephen Powell
Source: Reuters “Xi confidant and rising Chinese political star promoted”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
India and China can manage the differences that are likely to arise from time to time over their contested border, India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said on Tuesday, commenting on recent tension sparked by Chinese road-building.
In early June, according to the Chinese interpretation of events, Indian guards crossed into China’s Donglang region and obstructed work on a road on a plateau adjoining the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim.
Troops from the two sides then confronted each other close to a valley controlled by China that separates India from Bhutan – a close Indian ally – and gives China access to the so-called Chicken’s Neck, a thin strip of land that connects India to its remote northeastern regions.
Delivering a lecture in Singapore, Jaishankar said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping reached consensus on two points at a meeting last month on the sidelines of a regional summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The two nuclear-armed Asian neighbors must not allow their differences to become disputes, and should ensure their relations were a factor of stability amid global uncertainty, Jaishankar said, summarizing the two points.
“This consensus underlines the strategic maturity with which the two countries must continue to approach each other,” he added at an event hosted by the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Asked specifically about the recent confrontation in the Himalayan region, Jaishankar said the neighbors had experience dealing with such situations.
“It is a long border,” Jaishankar said. “As you know, no part of the border has been agreed upon. It is likely that from time to time there are differences.”
He added, “It is not the first time that has happened. And when such situations arise, how we handle it…is a test of our maturity.
“I see no reason why, when having handled so many situations in the past, we would not be able to handle it.”
During his lecture, Jaishankar described the evolving India-China relationship as having direct implications for Asia and perhaps the world.
Ties between China and India, which fought a brief border war in 1962, have long been frosty over territorial disputes, as well as Beijing’s support of Pakistan, and Indian leaders declined to attend China’s “Belt and Road” summit in May.
(Reporting by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
Source: Reuters “India, China can handle border differences, senior Indian official says”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Publication: China Brief Volume: 17 Issue: 9
By: Michael S. Chase July 6, 2017 05:35 PM Age: 4 days
Chinese President Xi Jinping has charged the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) with transforming itself into a “powerful people’s air force with integrated air and space and offensive and defensive capabilities” (iFeng, September 1, 2016). This undertaking aligns with the capabilities prioritized in China’s 2015 defense white paper, China’s Military Strategy, and one that PLAAF Commander Ma Xiaotian has suggested his service must approach with a sense of urgency (Defense White Paper, May 29, 2015; iFeng, September 1, 2016). One important part of this transformation is strengthening the PLAAF’s strategic deterrence and long-range strike capabilities. Xi has expressed personal interest in China’s bombers. In February 2015 Xi and other members of the Central Military Commission visited a PLAAF bomber base near Xi’an to inspect China’s newest bomber variant, the H-6K (Xinwen Lianbao, February 17, 2015). China appears to have even more ambitious plans for its future strategic bomber force.
According to the Department of Defense’s latest annual report to Congress on Chinese military power, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017, the PLAAF “is developing a strategic bomber that officials expect to have a nuclear mission.”  Indeed, the PLAAF, which has long seen its contribution to China’s strategic deterrence posture overshadowed by the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) and more recently by the PLA Navy (PLAN), appears to be moving in the direction of developing a modern nuclear deterrence and strike capability of its own. A PLAAF nuclear bomber capability “would provide China with its first credible nuclear ‘triad’ of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air.” 
China’s New Strategic Bomber
PLAAF Commander Ma Xiaotian foreshadowed this development in fall 2016 when he publicly confirmed China’s development of a “next-generation, long-range strike bomber” (China Daily, September 2, 2016). General Ma did not reveal any details related to the new strategic bomber, but subsequent Chinese commentary suggests it will be called the H-20, and that it will have both conventional and nuclear deterrence and strike missions. According to a February 2017 article that appeared in China Youth Daily and was published in English the next day on China Military Online, China’s new strategic bomber is likely to feature characteristics that include “good stealth performance,” very long range, a larger bomb load than China’s current bomber, the H-6K, nuclear and conventional strike capabilities, and “strong electronic combat capability” (China Military Online, February 17).Additionally, the H-20 should be “capable of large-capacity data fusion and transmission,” so that it will be able to “serve as a C4ISR node and interact with large sensor platforms like UAV, early warning aircraft and strategic reconnaissance aircraft to share information and target data.” Although the authors are unclear about many of the details, including the potential targets the new bomber might hold at risk, its range, and other requirements, they underscore the importance of it having nuclear and conventional strike capability. With respect to “nuclear-conventional integration,” the authors write, “The new-generation long-range bomber will have both nuclear and regular strike capability to hit the enemy’s key links and systemic weaknesses” (China Military Online, February 17). The authors of the China Youth Daily article do not specify what type or types of munitions the new bomber will carry. Nor do they say anything about the possibility of adding nuclear strike capabilities for the PLAAF’s H-6K bombers, which China used to conduct long-range patrols around Taiwan and in the South China Sea last year and are currently the PLAAF’s most advanced bombers. Of note, however, according to the May 2017 worldwide threat assessment the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency presented to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, China is pursuing not only air-launched cruise missiles for its aircraft but also “two, new air-launched ballistic missiles, one of which may include a nuclear payload.” 
The PLAAF and Nuclear Deterrence
A nuclear role for the PLAAF would also likely enhance its status within the PLA and help realize its goal of becoming a “strategic air force,” a concept that calls for it to play a decisive role in protecting Chinese national security interests, field capabilities commensurate with China’s status as a major power, and enjoy an institutional status on par with the other services. This aspiration apparently requires the PLAAF to strengthen its strategic deterrence and strike capabilities as well as to enhance its ability to perform other war-fighting and MOOTW missions. For the PLAAF, its transformation into a “strategic air force” is probably also focused on ensuring its bureaucratic status and influence are commensurate with those of the PLA’s other services, an important consideration in a traditionally ground force-dominated military.
Some observers credit the PLAAF’s bomber force with at least a residual capability to deliver nuclear weapons.  According to the 2017 edition of the China military power report, however, the PLAAF “does not currently have a nuclear mission.”  The PLAAF clearly had some capability to airdrop nuclear weapons early on, as demonstrated by China’s nuclear testing program, but its nuclear bomber capabilities appear to have atrophied in the 1970s and 1980s. One possibility is that Chinese strategists concluded at the time that the PLAAF’s antiquated bombers would be unable to penetrate enemy air defenses, and thus provided little value in terms of nuclear deterrence. Consequently, as China’s land-based strategic missile capabilities increased in numbers and sophistication, the PLARF, (known as PLA Second Artillery Force until December 2015) supplanted the PLAAF as the cornerstone of nuclear deterrence in China.
As the PLAAF pursues its “strategic air force” vision, however, it now appears to have strong incentives to pursue a revitalized nuclear deterrence and strike mission and the associated nuclear capabilities as it modernizes its bomber force. This judgment is based on comments and writings by Chinese strategists that advocate the development of advanced bombers capable of conducting nuclear as well as conventional missions. These actions would improve the survivability of China’s nuclear force if the bombers were operated in a survivable manner to assure survivability from a short-warning attack by potentially both increasing the number of targets for a potential adversary and allowing the bombers to escape an attack by launching for survival. They would also offer new strategic signaling options and an additional layer of nuclear strike options in the region beyond what is currently available with China’s land- and sea-based strategic missile force.
From an organizational perspective, nuclear capabilities could help bolster the PLAAF’s “strategic air force” reputation as it compares itself to other major air forces like the USAF and Russian Air Force. The PLAAF very likely sees its new strategic bomber in this context. The China Youth Daily article cited above indicates that the new strategic bomber marks the PLAAF’s “transformation from a big force to a strong force,” and states that a modern long-range strategic bomber represents “an indispensable part of a major country’s strategic strike system” (China Military Online, February 17). Specifically, according to the authors, “The large long-range bomber has always been a weak point for the PLA Air Force, which is at the critical juncture of moving from quantitative accumulation to qualitative change and from being a big force to a strong force.” Furthermore, they argue, “The new-generation LRSB will considerably improve China’s strategic attack capability and make the PLA Air Force a strategic air force in the true sense.” Finally, turning from the bomber’s implications for the PLAAF, the authors emphasize its importance “for countering nuclear blackmail from superpowers, solving surrounding maritime disputes that impede China’s rise, and preserving world peace” (China Military Online, February 17).
From an institutional interests perspective, the status of PLA Rocket Force as China’s “core force for strategic deterrence” and the increasing prominence of the PLAN’s contribution to the nuclear deterrence mission—as reflected by its Jin-class SSBNs and its plans for follow-on SSBNs and SLBMs in the future—suggests the PLAAF could lose ground if it doesn’t play a role in this area as well. In that sense, adding a nuclear capability would likely give the PLAAF an opportunity to increase its prestige while bolstering its contribution to the broader strategic deterrence mission. Other organizational incentives for regaining a nuclear mission include strengthening of the PLAAF’s status vis-à-vis the other services, especially now that the PLAN has a nuclear mission as well as the PLARF. Rather than ceding this area to the PLARF and PLAN, the PLAAF might seek a voice on matters of China’s nuclear strategy and force modernization, not to mention a share of the budget associated with the PLA’s nuclear mission. Finally, the PLAAF might want its own capabilities to strike certain enemy targets, rather than relying exclusively on other services to hold those targets at risk.
There are also several possible bureaucratic downsides for the PLAAF if it develops nuclear capabilities. One of these could be the risk of embarrassment or other more severe consequences resulting from any potential error related to nuclear weapons storage, handling, transportation, or security, areas in which it would need to develop and refine capabilities it presumably has not maintained for many years. Also, the costs of assuring the physical security and operational reliability of the nuclear weapons could be considerable. On balance, however, regaining a nuclear mission would likely boost the PLAAF’s role and support its transformation into a “strategic air force,” while also giving China an increased menu of options for strategic signaling and regional nuclear deterrence and strike operations.
Implications for the United States
The PLAAF appears to be moving toward a nuclear deterrence and strike role with the development of new bomber capabilities. If realized, China for the first time would have an operationally deployed nuclear triad. The possibility of an emerging nuclear mission for the PLAAF, and of this change in China’s nuclear posture, highlights the importance of discussions related to the implications for strategic stability and nuclear issues in the US-China relationship. Such discussions should take place as part of the US-China military-to-military relationship, such as during senior leader and counterpart conversations and exchanges. Continuing to develop and use a common lexicon to address nuclear issues is one critically important component of this dialogue. Although the PLAAF will need to display its nuclear bomber capabilities if it wants them to be useful for deterrence purposes, the longstanding reluctance of PLARF leaders to engage in detailed discussions of nuclear issues at an official level suggests that, at least initially, PLAAF leaders might not be receptive to such exchanges either. Thus, early discussions on the PLAAF’s nuclear role would probably need to take place at a non-governmental, informal Track 2 level, or by incorporating more PLAAF participants into existing Track 2 or Track 1.5 (informal, semi-official) exchanges.
The United States will also need to consider the regional security implications of a nuclear PLAAF, particularly regarding concerns about extended deterrence and strategic stability in Northeast Asia. U.S. allies, especially Japan, may be concerned that PLAAF nuclear bomber capabilities could be part of a more varied set of regional nuclear strike options and might suggest movement away from China’s longstanding nuclear no first use (NFU) policy. Any such developments could create new challenges for extended deterrence, underscoring the importance of continuing to strengthen U.S.-Japan exchanges on these issues.
Michael S. Chase is a senior political scientist at RAND and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
1.Annual Report to Congress, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017 (CMPR 2017), May 15, 2017, p. 61, https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2017_China_Military_Power_Report.PDF
2.CMPR 2017, p. 61.
3.Defense Intelligence Agency, “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” May 2017, p. 10, https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Stewart_05-23-17.pdf.
4.See, for example, Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2016,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 2016, pp. 209–210.
5.CMPR 2017, p. 61.
Source: The Jamestown Foundation China Brief “Nuclear Bomber Could Boost PLAAF Strategic Role, Create Credible Triad”
Note: This is Jamestown Foundation’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING Mon Jul 10, 2017 | 9:23am EDT
From U.S. anger over inaction on North Korea to a festering border dispute with India and the ailing Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, last week’s G20 summit was strewn with minefields for China’s President Xi Jinping.
By chance or by strategy, Xi and his officials picked their way through unscathed.
Beijing is ultra-sensitive about Xi’s image and ensuring he gets the respect it sees as his due as leader of an emerging superpower, especially when traveling to Western countries where it cannot so tightly control the public narrative.
Diplomatic sources in Beijing, speaking ahead of Xi’s trip to the G20 gathering in the German city of Hamburg, said Chinese officials had in private expressed nervousness that he could be asked awkward questions about North Korea, or the cancer-struck Liu, jailed for 11 years in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”.
In the end it was U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid accusations Russia interfered in the U.S. election, and Trump’s refusal to return to the Paris climate agreement that dominated the limelight.
Xi, by contrast, avoided controversy in his bilateral meetings and reaffirmed China’s commitment to the Paris deal and to an open global economy, in what the official China Daily called the “burnishing of (his) reputation”.
“Nobody talked about the South China Sea. No one talked about trade. Everyone was happy with Xi. I think he played this well,” said Ulrich Speck, senior fellow at the Elcano Royal Institute in Brussels.
“All eyes were on Trump and Putin. But the fact that there was no U.S.-China clash was at least as important. Xi stayed out of the alpha-male fight. China presented itself as a partner to Europe.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Xi “made it clear that the G20 should adhere to taking the path of open development and mutual benefit leading to all-win results, support a multilateral trade mechanism, and promote international trade and investment”.
“China was in a good place at G20, with reasonable policies,” said Jin Canrong of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, who has advised the government on diplomatic matters.
“So President Xi was comfortable and positive there.”
DON’T MENTION TAIWAN
Potentially the biggest test was Xi’s meeting with Trump, who in the run-up to Hamburg had voiced frustration over China’s inability to rein in its troublesome erstwhile ally, North Korea.
In the event, Trump returned to the conciliatory tone struck at their first meeting in April, telling the Chinese leader it was “an honor to have you as a friend” and he appreciated actions Xi had already taken to try to dissuade North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons.
Influential Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Monday that the Xi-Trump meeting had defied “the naysayers in the West”.
“Beijing and Washington saw friction on issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea ahead of the meeting, and there was speculation from Western public opinion that the China-U.S. ‘honeymoon’ had come to an end. But the Xi-Trump meeting repudiates such speculation,” the paper said.
Speaking to reporters later on Air Force One, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump-Xi meeting lasted more than an hour-and-a-half, and would have gone on longer had they not had to leave for other engagements.
Ruan Zongze, a former Chinese diplomat now with the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank affiliated with the Foreign Ministry, said Xi was much more upbeat than when he spoke to Trump a few days ahead of G20 and mentioned certain unnamed “negative factors” in their relationship.
“Even on trade Trump underscored that he wants cooperation,” Ruan said.
China’s biggest concern had been U.S. policy toward self-ruled Taiwan, after the Trump administration approved a $1.42 billion arms package for Taiwan, claimed by China as its own.
Neither government mentioned Taiwan in their respective accounts of their G20 meeting.
Chinese officials were at pains to point out their good relations with the new administration in Washington.
Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told reporters in Hamburg that the Chinese and U.S. teams dealing the bilateral financial relationship clearly understood that both would be hurt by fighting with each other.
“Our strength is communicating every morning and every evening. This is unprecedented,” Zhu said.
NO DRAMA, FOR NOW…
On India, where China has over the past few weeks accused New Delhi of provocation by sending troops across the border in a disputed region, Xi avoided drama by not having a formal bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though India’s foreign ministry said they did speak.
Even on Liu Xiaobo, Xi avoided being put on the spot, with China on Saturday allowing a U.S. and German doctor to meet him at his hospital in northeastern China.
Still, the faultlines remain in the tricky China-United States relationship.
China may respond more assertively if, for example, more Chinese entities are sanctioned by the United States over North Korea or Trump raises barriers to Chinese goods as he has frequently threatened, said a senior Beijing-based Western diplomat.
“China has been restrained so far in reacting to Trump, but that is unlikely to last,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Things are gearing up to be a summer of drama between China and the United States.”
(Additional reporting by Gao Liangping in Beijing, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Noah Barkin in Hamburg; Editing by Alex Richardson)
Source: Reuters “Quiet success for China at G20 as Xi avoids drama and spotlight”
By Jeff Mason | HAMBURG Sun Jul 9, 2017 | 9:07am EDT
U.S. President Donald Trump took a conciliatory tone on Saturday at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping where the leaders agreed to keep working on two pressing issues: the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and bilateral trade irritants.
Trump campaigned in last year’s presidential election on cracking down on China for its trade practices, but he softened his rhetoric after taking office, saying he wanted to work with China on the nuclear issue.
When the two leaders first met in April at Trump’s Florida resort, they appeared to hit it off. Trump called Xi a “good man” as he urged him to use Beijing’s economic clout to force North Korea to curb its nuclear weapons program.
Lately, Trump has expressed some impatience on China’s role in North Korea – particularly after Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe could have the range to reach Alaska, and parts of the U.S. West Coast.
His administration made new arms sales to Taiwan, imposed sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company and put China on a global human trafficking list. It also accused a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.
The White House is also debating trade actions against Beijing, including tariffs on its steel exports and a few days before the G20 talks, Trump complained that trade between China and North Korea had grown.
But he showed none of that impatience on Saturday, when the leaders met at the invitation of Xi at the tail end of the G20 in Germany.
“It’s an honor to have you as a friend,” Trump told Xi, telling him he appreciated actions he had already taken on North Korea.
“As far as North Korea is concerned, we will have, eventually, success. It may take longer than I’d like. It may take longer than you’d like. But there will be success in the end one way or the other,” Trump said.
Speaking to reporters later on Air Force One, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump-Xi meeting lasted over an hour-and-a-half, and they had “substantive discussions” about how to deal with North Korea together.
“In regards to China, we had very direct discussions about North Korea. We had very direct discussions about military and security cooperation,” Mnuchin said.
“I think that President Trump made very clear to President Xi that he is focused on this issue, and wants to move forward and make progress. And I think President Xi gave a very interesting perspective from their standpoint,” he added.
‘CONTROL THE SITUATION’
For his part, Xi told Trump that stronger China-U.S. ties were conducive to stability and prosperity amid global conflicts, and had made “new progress” in some areas “despite some sensitive issues”, Xi said, according to state news agency Xinhua.
Xi stressed the importance of talks with North Korea, and said China’s navy will join next year’s U.S.-led Pacific Rim military exercises.
Xinhua said Xi stressed to Trump China’s position that it adheres to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there.
While China has been angered by North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests, it also blames the United States and South Korea for worsening tension with their military exercises.
“China has many times talked about its principled position, namely that at the same time as the international community making necessary responses to North Korean acts that go against U.N. Security Council resolutions, they must step up efforts to promote talks and manage and control the situation,” Xinhua said, citing Xi.
Xi also reiterated China’s opposition to the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea, Xinhua said. China says THAAD threatens its security, despite U.S. and South Korean assurances it is aimed only at defending against North Korea.
Both leaders agreed to maintain close communication and coordination on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, Xinhua said.
In a statement released on Sunday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Xi and Trump had “enhanced mutual understanding” about the North Korea issue and “confirmed the broad direction of using peaceful means to resolve this issue”.
Trump also mentioned trade imbalances in his meeting with Xi, calling it a “very, very big issue” that he would address.
“I know that China in particular, which is a great trading partner, we will be able to do something that will be equitable and reciprocal,” Trump said.
Senior officials from both countries will meet in Washington on July 19 to discuss economic and trade issues.
(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Alistair Bell and Himani Sarkar)
Source: Reuters “Trump keeps it friendly with Xi at G20 on North Korea threat”
China and Britain need to seek common ground while shelving differences and respect each other’s core interests, Chinese President Xi Jinping told British Prime Minister Theresa May, following a recent dispute over Hong Kong.
China said last month a joint declaration with Britain over Hong Kong, which laid the blueprint over how the city would be ruled after its return to China in 1997, was a historical document that no longer had any practical significance.
In response, Britain said the declaration remained in force and was a legally valid treaty to which it was committed to upholding.
China says no foreign country has a right to get involved with Hong Kong as it is an internal affair for China, and has also reacted angrily to six-monthly reports the British government gives to Parliament about Hong Kong.
Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg on Friday, Xi told May that bilateral relations should be cultivated on the basis of “consolidating strategic mutual trust”, China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.
“Both sides should uphold the principle of mutual respect and equality, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns,” the ministry cited Xi as saying.
“Both sides must seek common ground while shelving differences.”
There was no direct mention of Hong Kong in the statement.
On Wednesday, British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field met Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming in London and made clear Britain’s commitment to the joint declaration, Britain’s Foreign Office said.
“This declaration, registered with the UN, remains in force until July 2047. As a consequence, the minister did not accept the Chinese government’s position that this was purely an historical document,” the Foreign Office said.
While China and Britain have a history of disputes over human rights and the future of Hong Kong, ties have warmed in the past few years and economic links have grown in what both countries call a “golden age”, though Britain upset China last year by putting on hold a nuclear project it later approved.
China is high on Britain’s list of countries with which to sign a free trade deal once Britain leaves the European Union.
Xi told May that the two countries should deepen cooperation in the finance and nuclear energy sectors, China’s foreign ministry added, without giving details.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Source: Reuters “China’s Xi says should ‘shelve differences’ in meeting with British PM”