Trump sees US in position of strength ahead of Xi meeting

US President Donald Trump (pictured) is expected to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday (June 29).
US President Donald Trump (pictured) is expected to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday (June 29).PHOTO: REUTERS

US collecting a lot of money, many firms leaving China, says White House official

President Donald Trump sees the United States as being in a position of strength in its trade dispute with China and would be comfortable no matter how his meeting this weekend with Chinese President Xi Jinping turns out, said a senior administration official on Monday.

"He's got an opportunity to see where the Chinese side is since the talks last left off, but the President is quite comfortable with any outcome," the US official told reporters in a briefing on this weekend's Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, Japan.

Mr Trump is expected to meet Mr Xi on Saturday, the second day of the two-day summit.

"He's comfortable that we're in a strong position," said the official, declining to give more details of the meeting as the US President's schedule was still being worked out.

The leaders had met previously at the G-20 summit last November in Argentina, where they agreed to a trade truce and a suspension of a scheduled tariff hike.

Mr Trump, however, proceeded with the tariff hike last month, citing a lack of progress in the trade talks. He also threatened new tariffs of 25 per cent on an additional US$300 billion (S$406 billion) of Chinese goods, which cover almost all remaining Chinese imports untouched by earlier tariffs.

The official said the original purpose of the tariffs had been to address the theft of American intellectual property and the coercion of US companies over the transfer of their technology and intellectual property as the price of gaining access to the Chinese market.

TOUCHING BASE

He's got an opportunity to see where the Chinese side is since the talks last left off, but the President is quite comfortable with any outcome... He's comfortable that we're in a strong position.

AN AMERICAN OFFICIAL, on President Donald Trump's scheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at this weekend's Group of 20 summit in Japan.

"That was some of the original intent that China unwisely decided to retaliate against, so the President imposed other tariffs," he said.

"We're collecting a lot of money. We see a lot of companies leaving China, and the US economy is stronger than it's been in many, many decades, so he's quite comfortable with that position going into this meeting."

The official said the purpose of the discussions was to rebalance the US-China relationship in a way that protects America's economic prosperity and workers.

A deal would, therefore, need to include structural changes in China to protect US intellectual property, as well as credible enforcement, he said, adding that the US position was well known by the Chinese.

Another official said: "The President has been quite clear that he needs to see real structural reform in China across a number of sectors."

Nothing about that desire had changed, the official added.

 
 

Mr Trump will meet at least seven other world leaders one-on-one at the summit - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Trump and Mr Putin will discuss regional security issues including Iran, Ukraine, Syria and the Middle East, said an official.

Mr Trump will fly to Seoul on Saturday afternoon, where he will have talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the denuclearisation of North Korea and the US-South Korea alliance. Mr Trump departs for Washington on Sunday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'Trump sees US in position of strength ahead of Xi meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe