North Korea, trade to top Trump’s visit to China

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/13 23:23:40 Last Updated: 2017/9/14 0:35:54

China’s room for concessions limited: expert

Thorny issues such as North Korea and trade will top US President Donald Trump's agenda in his reported visit to China in November, his first official one to Asia.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China and the US had discussed Trump's visit in a meeting between Chinese State Counselor Yang Jiechi and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on Tuesday.

Yang said China stands ready to work with the US to achieve positive results from this visit, but did not reveal the visit's date.

Bloomberg and Reuters have quoted anonymous sources as saying that Trump will likely visit China in November.

"North Korea and trade are expected to top Trump's agenda. His past encounters with China on these two issues were not entirely pleasant," Shi Yinhong, director of the Renmin University of China's Center for American Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Trump wants China to concede, but China's room for concessions on either of these issues is limited," Shi said.

Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon told the Daily Mail on Tuesday in Hong Kong that Trump will negotiate a new trade relationship with China.

Trump will attend the US-ASEAN summit and East Asia summit in the Philippines in November, as well as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Trump to visit China during their meeting in April at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. The two leaders also met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in July.

Different approach

On Monday, the UN Security Council slapped new sanctions on North Korea after Pyongyang detonated what it called a "hydrogen bomb." The new sanctions include limits on oil exports, a ban on the country's textile exports and access to liquefied gas, and a closer inspection of cargo ships entering and leaving its ports.

Despite that, both China and the US agree on the denuclearization of the peninsula but differ on how to achieve that goal.

"The main difference is Washington believes the nuclear crisis can be resolved by increasingly imposing economic sanctions until Pyongyang reaches its limit. But Beijing believes the issue can only be resolved through talks," Tao Wenzhao, senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, told the Global Times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that North Koreans would rather "eat grass" than give up their nuclear weapons program.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration in August began an investigation into China's alleged theft of US intellectual property, using Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, raising concerns of a possible trade war.

However, most analysts said a trade war can be avoided.

"Trade ties between the two countries will largely remain tense. As to what extent Trump will implement his threats … I am afraid there is a lot to consider," Shi said.

Resilient ties

Analysts said another important item on Trump's agenda is to strike a balance between competition and cooperation in bilateral ties.

"The dichotomy in Sino-US relations shows that the two countries are both partners and competitors. But based on the trend, the relations are sliding toward the competition end," Shi said.

"The current level of mutual trust between the two countries is relatively low … I believe it is unlikely for the atmosphere to return to the amicable mood of the Mar-a-Lago meeting," Shi noted.

"However, the interests of the world's two largest economies remain highly interdependent. We must also recognize that the great resilience of Sino-US ties can help the two nations pull through difficulties," Tao said.

Newspaper headline: NK, trade to top Trump visit

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