Source: Global Times Published: 2018-11-28
China is prepared for all outcomes from the meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump over trade disputes at the G20 Summit in Argentina, Chinese analysts said on Wednesday.
China will firmly safeguard its national interests and never make undeserved compromises under US pressure, they stressed to the Global Times on Wednesday. The possibility of reaching a consensus is still very high, they said, even amid China-US friction.
Their comments came after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said at a press briefing on Tuesday that Trump is open to reaching a deal on US-China trade irritants over dinner on Saturday with Xi, NBC News reported.
Kudlow said Trump had told advisers that "in his view, there is a good possibility that a deal can be made, and that he is open to that," but he was also ready to hike tariffs on Chinese imports if no breakthrough were achieved, Reuters reported.
"Kudlow's remarks reflected the contradictions of China-US trade negotiations," Jin Canrong, associate dean of Renmin University of China's School of International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "It could be seen as either positive or negative. As Trump's stance has always been changing, China should hold a normal mind-set toward Kudlow's words."
If China and the US cannot reach a deal, it may affect the Chinese economy, Jin said, but China could handle that and "give full play to local governments' strength for the next step."
Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, said that Trump's open attitude toward reaching a deal was laudable.
The threat from Trump could be seen as a strategy, Yang told the Global Times.
Trump's vow to boost tariffs was "shooting himself in the foot," Yang said, noting that Trump chose to avoid raising tariffs to 25 percent during the Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping seasons.
"In China-US trade, the US still has an absolute advantage over China in terms of export dependence," Yang said.
Trump's strategy was to pile pressure on China and then propose negotiations in an urgent situation, Yang believed. "In fact, the US still wants to reach a deal," he said.
Before Kudlow's briefing, Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Monday that he expected to move ahead with raising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent, calling it "highly unlikely" that he would accept Beijing's request to hold off on the increase.
Responding to Trump's latest stance, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a routine press conference on Tuesday that the Chinese side has repeatedly stressed that China-US economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial in nature.
"China is willing to resolve trade issues through negotiations on the basis of seriousness, equality and good faith. Meanwhile, we will firmly safeguard our own legitimate rights and interests," Geng said.
Geng said at Wednesday's press briefing that China hopes the summit will send positive signals in defending multilateralism, promoting partnership spirit and improving global economic governance as well injecting a new impetus for the world economy to embark on a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth path.
Speaking to Reuters, Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said China and the US had a shared responsibility to cooperate in the interests of the global economy, warning of dire consequences if US hard-liners try to separate the world's two largest economies.
Chinese analysts pointed out that Beijing retains a firm determination to deepen reform and expand opening-up, and pressure from the US stimulates China to act on that determination.
Some differences between China and the US could be negotiated, such as regulations on market access, Yang said.
However, "some red lines could never be crossed and China will never compromise under US pressure," he said.
Jin Canrong is associate dean of Renmin University of China's School of International Studies.