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13 February 2019, 04:10 | Glen Norman
Will the trade war ever end? Potential late March Trump-Xi meeting would likely extend talks
Top US officials arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday before high-level trade talks as the world's two largest economies attempt to hammer out a deal before the March 1 deadline for the US to raise tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.
China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties.
Trump told reporters in January that he planned to meet Xi in late February, though he backtracked on that last week and said a gathering wouldn't take place this month.
"But at some point, I expect to meet with President Xi, who I have a lot of respect for and like a lot, and make the parts of the deal that the group is unable to make", Trump said.
Negotiations in Washington last month ended without a deal and with the top US negotiator declaring work was needed.
"China has always respected and safeguarded freedom of navigation and flight based on worldwide laws in the South China Sea, but resolutely opposes any country falsely using these harm the sovereignty and security of coastal countries", Hua said Monday. The so-called truce is reportedly set to end on March 1.
"He has forged a mutually respectful relationship with President Xi", Conway said.
The last round of talks in Washington late last month resulted in China importing American soybeans as it implemented promises to buy more US goods. In particular, the U.S.is demanding structural changes to the Chinese economy, including an end to state-subsidies of Chinese-owned businesses and an end to policies that transfer technology intellectual property from USA firms to Chinese competitors.
During that operation, a Chinese destroyer came within 45 yards of the USA warship, forcing it to maneuver to avoid a collision. "And, absolutely, you know, we've put everything on the table, including IP theft and forced technology transfer and so on".
Why the South China Sea Fuels U.S.
And with March 1 approaching, speculation is growing that it will be hard for negotiators to agree to the complete deal Trump demands.
The destroyers conducted the passage, illustrating the continuing USA military presence in the area, to which China routinely has objected. The American-side often doesn't announce such sail-bys in the South China Sea, where China's claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
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