President Donald Trump and his Chinese
counterpart, President Xi Jinping, have agreed to resume trade talks, easing a
long row that has contributed to a global economic slowdown.
The US and China reached agreement at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
President Trump also said he would allow US companies to continue to sell to
the Chinese tech giant Huawei, in a move seen as a significant concession.
He had threatened additional trade sanctions on China.
However, after the meeting on the sidelines of the main G20 summit in Japan,
President Trump confirmed that the US would not be adding tariffs on $300 billion
worth of Chinese imports.
He also said he would continue to negotiate with China “for the time
At a subsequent press conference, President Trump declared
that US technology companies could again sell to China’s Huawei – effectively
reversing a ban imposed last month by the US commerce department.
The US and China have been fighting a damaging trade war over the past year.
Donald Trump accused China of stealing intellectual property and forcing US
companies to share trade secrets in order to do business in China, which in
turn said US demands for business reform were unreasonable.
The feud escalated in the months leading up to the G20 summit, after talks
between the two countries collapsed in May.
The truce signals a pause in hostilities rather than a resolution of the
dispute, which has caused market turbulence and hit global growth.
President Trump said his meeting with President Xi was “excellent, as good as it was going to be,” adding: “We discussed a lot of things and we’re right back on track and we’ll see what happens.”
China’s state news agency Xinhua quoted President Xi as saying: “China and the US have highly
integrated interests and extensive co-operation areas and they should not fall
into so-called traps of conflict and confrontation.”
Washington has publicly said Huawei’s
technology poses a national security risk, although President Trump has also
linked the issue to the trade dispute.
Last month, the US banned Huawei
from buying US goods without a license – including from Google, which is
crucial to many of its products. The ban could cost the firm $30 billion in
revenue this year.
President Trump’s decision to allow US companies to continue to sell to
Huawei “where there’s no great national security problem” could be a
substantial concession, although exactly how this will play out remains
He said the Huawei situation would be dealt with “at the very end”
of trade talks.
The next summit is due to be held in
Saudi Arabia in November 2020.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has
continued to face questions in Japan over the murder in Istanbul last year of
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the matter is likely to rumble on.
The UK and Turkey are among the countries still pressing the issue, although President Trump says “no-one blames” the Saudi crown prince.
President Donald Trump has criticized China following North Korea’s test of a long-range missile, condemning it for increasing trade with Pyongyang.
He tweeted: “So much for China working with us.”
Meanwhile, the US and South Korea conducted a ballistic missile fire exercise in the Sea of Japan in response to North Korea’s action.
China and Russia have urged both sides to stop flexing their military muscle and said they oppose any attempts at regime change in North Korea.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “It is perfectly clear to Russia and China that any attempts to justify the use of force by referring to [United Nations] Security Council resolutions are unacceptable, and will lead to unpredictable consequences in this region which borders both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.”
“Attempts to strangle the DPRK [North Korea] economically are equally unacceptable,” he added.
The trade figures showing an increase in trade between China and North Korea, which he was apparently referring to in July 5 critical tweet.
President Trump is now en route to Poland and Germany, where he will meet President Xi Jinping for the second time.
China, which is North Korea’s main economic ally, and Russia have called on the North to suspend its ballistic missile program in exchange for a halt on the large-scale military exercises by the US and South Korea.
President Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met in Moscow on July 4, said “the opposing sides should start negotiations”.
On July 4, Japan said “repeated provocations like this are absolutely unacceptable” and lodged a protest.
President Trump has said the summit “will be a very difficult one”. In 2016, he accused China of “raping the US”.
During the election campaign, Donald Trump said massive trade deficits and job losses could no longer be tolerated. However, at dinner on April 6, it was all smiles, with the leaders’ two wives, folk singer Peng Liyuan and First Lady Melania Trump also in attendance.
The meeting was, however, largely overshadowed later by a US airstrike on an airbase in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.
Although Beijing has condemned this and previous missile tests, it has so far been reluctant to isolate its neighbor, fearing its collapse could spawn a refugee crisis and bring the US military to its doorstep.
Donald Trump is expected to call on Xi Jinping to arm-twist North Korea into halting its nuclear program by denying it access to banking institutions.
The president told the Financial Times this week he was prepared to act unilaterally, saying: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”
A senior White House official said North Korea would be a key test for the Trump-Xi relationship.
“The clock is very, very quickly running out,” the official said.
“All options are on the table for us.”
For his part, President Xi Jinping will seek assurances from President Donald Trump on US arms sales to Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province that must eventually reunify with the mainland.
Donald Trump outraged China in December when he took the unorthodox step of accepting a phone call from the Taiwanese president.
Donald Trump has questioned whether the United States should continue its “One China” policy.
The 1979 policy has respected China’s stance on Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province.
However, the president-elect said that without concessions from Beijing on trade and other issues, he did not see why that should continue.
The US relations with China became strained when Donald Trump took a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Donald Trump went on to post a series of tweets criticizing China for its exchange rate policy and its operations in the South China Sea.
Image source Flickr
Speaking in an interview with Fox News broadcast on December 11, Donald Trump said: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”
He also said China was not co-operating with the United States on its handling of its currency, on North Korea, or on tensions in the South China Sea.
In the same interview, Donald Trump said he “doesn’t believe” a CIA assessment that Russian hackers tried to sway the presidential election in his favor.
Donald Trump’s decision to take a phone call from the Taiwanese president earlier this month was a break with US diplomatic tradition and prompted a formal protest from China.
No US president or president-elect had spoken directly to a Taiwanese leader for decades.
In the Fox interview, Donald Trump said it was not up to Beijing to decide whether he should take a call from Taiwan’s leader.
“I don’t want China dictating to me and this was a call put into me,” he said.
“It was a very nice call. Short. And why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?
“I think it actually would’ve been very disrespectful, to be honest with you, not taking it.”