China, US halt trade dispute to give way for more talks

By Bai Yunyi in Buenos Aires and Xie Jun in Shanghai Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/2 22:48:41

Xi, Trump agree ties depend on cooperation, stability: FM

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump shake hands on Saturday. The two leaders had profound discussions for two and a half hours over trade issues, the Taiwan question and Korean Peninsula on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina on Saturday. Photo: Xinhua

 China and the US announced a temporary truce to their months-long trade disputes following a meeting between the two countries' top leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina on Saturday.

The suspension in the trade disputes is a "significant and fresh start" in the two countries' trade relations, Chinese analysts said on Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on Saturday had "profound discussions" lasting two and a half hours, much longer than originally scheduled, according to the Xinhua News Agency on Sunday.

This was also the first face-to-face meeting between the two presidents after the trade dispute erupted earlier this year, Xinhua reported.

The two presidents agreed that China and the US "can and should" ensure the success of China-US relations and that coordination, cooperation and stability should be the defining features of bilateral relations, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press briefing in Argentina on Saturday local time.

Wang also noted that China is committed to deepening reform and furthering opening-up. During the process, some economic and trade issues of concern to Washington will be solved, Xinhua reported.

Global Times reporters noticed that the Xi-Trump meeting and China-US relations were the hottest topics among G20 reporters. After the results of the Xi-Trump meeting were revealed at a press briefing, some reporters said that the results are "very positive" and "very optimistic."

Residents living near the hotel where the G20 summit was being held walked out of their homes and looked at the restaurant where Xi and Trump met. Many people took photos using their phones and tried to get real-time developments of the meeting via news apps and radios.

 China's Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said on Sunday that the US will temporarily leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods at 10 percent, instead of raising it to 25 percent on January 1.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, said that communication between the leaders of China and the US have always helped "set the tone" for the two countries' diplomatic relations.

"The Xi-Trump meeting shows the two leaders' efforts to steer the two countries' trade relations to a better direction. I think we can expect greater cooperation in the two countries' trade situation, at least for now," Li told the Global Times on Sunday.

Wang Jun, deputy director of the department of information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, also told the Global Times that suspending China-US trade disputes has "positive signs."

Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the results of the negotiations are not the best results, but are "acceptable to both countries."

"It's not easy to reach such a consensus with Trump's hawkish attitude," Bai told the Global Times on Sunday.

But Bai said uncertainties remain as to whether China and the US can completely settle their trade disputes. "There might be reversals, like Trump going back on his promises during the 90-day tariff cease-fire. We should prepare for those scenarios," he said.

Analysts noted that the uncertainties mainly come from the US side. Instead of setting a 90-day deadline for the complicated negotiation, the US could provide more goodwill to China, they said.

"The meeting does not mean an end to China-US trade frictions," Wang Jun said, noting there are likely to be more painstaking efforts in future trade talks, including more compromises.

Li said trade frictions between China and the US will exist on a long-term basis because of the two countries' different trade structures.

"In the long run, I believe the US will still consider China a trade competitor," Li said.

Focus on own development

Experts also said China will not give up its core interests in trade negotiations with the US.

Li Haidong said China will not give up its legitimate development rights just to appease the US.

"China always seeks stable diplomatic ties with the US, but relations cannot be built without US' respect for China," Li told the Global Times.

He also noted that China should stay calm over unexpected US moves, saying Beijing should always focus on its own development.

Tian Yun, vice president of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times on Sunday that the trade disputes hurt the US economy more than Chinese economy.

"The US has not achieved its goal of manufacturing backflow through the trade dispute," he told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The dispute is adding great pressure to the US economy, which is already burdened by debt," he said.

Newspaper headline: China, US suspend trade rift

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