China to stand firm in trade talks: State media

Upcoming negotiations not likely to end quickly with deal, they say

SHANGHAI • Upcoming trade talks between the leaders of China and the United States are unlikely to immediately resolve major disagreements between the two sides, but could start a new phase in negotiations, Chinese state media said yesterday.

China and the US earlier this week said they were reviving talks ahead of a meeting next week between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, cheering financial markets on hopes that the move may ease intensifying trade frictions.

Talks to reach a broad deal broke down last month after US officials accused China of backing away from previously agreed commitments.

The two countries are in the middle of a costly trade dispute and have slapped increasingly severe tariffs on each other's imports.

China has vowed not to give in on issues of principle or under US pressure.

Both parties are "in the mood for serious dialogue" as a full-blown trade war was "lose-lose", but one single meeting is unlikely to wrap everything up, the official China Daily said in an editorial.

"The two parties' expectations are too divergent to allow that," it said. "More likely than not, the one-on-one meeting will end up being the start of a new phase in the negotiations with the two leaders personally setting out their countries' respective bottom lines."

 
 
 
 

The Global Times, which said that China had held the telephone conversation with the US upon request, said Beijing had sent a clear signal to Washington that "China can never be daunted".

"Negotiation outcomes are not often obtained through talks, but through fights. If desiring a good negotiation result, China must persist and not fear," said the newspaper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily.

"As trade between China and the US is highly likely to continue, the two countries may eventually reach an agreement. But China will not be impatient or afraid of setbacks."

China has managed to get the US back to the table with its determination and ability to "prepare for war", Taoran Notes, a widely read and influential WeChat account run by the Economic Daily, wrote late on Wednesday. "Only by being able to fight, daring to fight and being good at fighting can you stop a war."

The costly trade dispute between the world's largest economies has pressured financial markets and damaged the world economy.

Mr Trump has threatened to put tariffs on another US$325 billion (S$440 billion) of goods, covering nearly all the remaining Chinese imports into the US, including consumer products such as cellphones, computers and clothing.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2019, with the headline 'China to stand firm in trade talks: State media'. Print Edition | Subscribe