Executive Intelligence Review


Key Week for U.S.-China Relations: Xi Jinping To Meet with Mnuchin and Lighthizer in Beijing

Feb. 13, 2019 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing on Friday, the American negotiating team who are in China to try to complete a trade agreement between the two countries. The head of the Chinese negotiating team, Vice Premier Liu He, had met with President Trump on Jan. 31 when he was in Washington for negotiations.

“Xi is scheduled to meet both Lighthizer and Mnuchin on Friday,” an unnamed source told the South China Morning Post newspaper. The source also said that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would attend a banquet for the U.S. delegation in “a Chinese cuisine restaurant” in downtown Beijing. The SCMP wrote: “If confirmed, such arrangements, including a meeting between Xi and Washington’s top trade envoys, would be a sign of goodwill to cement a trade deal between the world’s two biggest economies.”

The atmospherics have also been positive from the American side. Mnuchin told the press on his arrival in China, “so far, so good” on the trade talks. And President Donald Trump told the press on Feb. 12 that he may be flexible about the March 1 deadline for imposing increased tariffs on China if no deal has been made.

“If we’re close to a deal where we think we can make a real deal and it’s going to get done, I could see myself letting that slide for a little while. But generally speaking I’m not inclined to do that.”

But China has also been sharply critical of anti-Chinese statements issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others, threatening to sanction countries that purchase equipment from the giant Chinese telecommunications company Huawei (more below). Instead of such an approach, stated Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, in her press briefing yesterday,

“We hope that all countries could discard their ideological prejudice and zero-sum game mindset and work to create a fair, unbiased, open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based environment for normal friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries.”