China Warns Ahead Of Trade-War Talks: “Don’t Expect A Comprehensive Deal Whatsoever”

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It appears the US-China trade-war is nowhere near being over as NYTimes reports China will refuse to discuss President Trump’s two toughest trade demands when American negotiators arrive in Beijing this week.

Signalling ahead of the trade talks has been clear from Beijing. The New York Times reports that a half-dozen senior Chinese officials and two dozen influential advisers laid out the Chinese government’s position in detail during a three-day seminar that ended here late Monday morning. A handful of foreign writers were invited from around the world to make sure China’s stance would be known overseas. All of the officials and most of the advisers at the seminar insisted on anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

The reason is simple: Beijing feels its economy has become big enough and resilient enough to stand up to the United States.

It is not clear what will happen when the two sides sit down this week or whether either will find a reason to waver. Still, as NYT points out, the Chinese and American positions are so far apart that China’s leaders are skeptical a deal will be possible at the end of this week. They are already raising the possibility that Chinese officials may fly to Washington a month from now for further talks.

“I don’t expect a comprehensive deal whatsoever,” said Ruan Zongze, the executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, which is the policy research arm of China’s Foreign Ministry. “I think there is a lot of game playing here.”

In some respects, the hard stance struck by Chinese officials reflects a hardening of public attitudes in China, as the Trump administration’s actions have sparked increased nationalism among the Chinese…

The ZTE case “has changed a lot of Chinese people’s opinion,” said Mr. Ruan, of the China Institute of International Studies. “In the past, people saw us as interdependent.”

The bottom line, as NYT notes, is that this position potentially forces Washington to escalate the dispute or back down… and given Trump’s history, the latter seems unlikely for now.

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