The Xi-Trump zero-sum game

A delay in US tariffs belies the bigger battle both leaders are engaged in. Both have overplayed their hands.

I was glad to see the stock market get a boost from the news that Chinese and US trade negotiators were talking again and that President Donald Trump blinked a bit and pulled some of his planned tariffs. But don't be fooled. Mr Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are still locked in a cage match over who is the true big dog in today's global economy.

Both are desperate not only to "win", but to be seen to win, and not be subjected to the scorn of their rivals or critics on social media.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2019, with the headline 'The Xi-Trump zero-sum game'. Print Edition | Subscribe