To say there are conflicting reports of the U.S-China trade discussion, and possible breakdown therein, would be an understatement. However, mining through the various U.S. and China news agencies, a more clear picture emerges.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighizer is quoted today: “We felt we were on track to get somewhere. Over the course of last week we have seen an erosion of commitments by China. That in our view is unacceptable.” This statement appears to be in line with reports from Beijing about Chinese negotiators: “with sources suggesting that President Xi Jinping vetoed additional concessions proposed by his negotiators.”
(Bloomberg) […] Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters on Monday that the Chinese backsliding became apparent during their visit to Beijing last week, but that they had been reassured by their Chinese interlocutors that everything would turn out.
That changed over the weekend when China sent through a new draft of an agreement that included them pulling back on language in the text on a number of issues, which had the “potential to change the deal very dramatically,” Mnuchin said.
At that stage about 90 percent of the pact had been finalized, he said, and the Chinese wanted to reopen areas that had already been negotiated. “We are not willing to go back on documents that have been negotiated in the past,” he said. (read more)
The South China Morning Post concurs with Mnuchin and Lighthizer’s explanations when they share:
“Xi told them ‘I’ll be responsible for all possible consequences’,” the second source said. Chinese negotiators subsequently presented a tougher proposal to Washington, although it is not clear if they pitched an amended proposal to Xi after the latest round of talks in Beijing last week. (link)
So we see the framework of the duplicitous and conniving Chinese being duplicitous and conniving. Go figure.
Again, this status-conflict is in complete alignment with the historic Chinese world-view. It is not so much an issue with differences of opinions; the U.S. -vs- China trade conflict is actually a fundamental issue of cultural clashes.
March 2018 – […] China has no cultural or political space between peace and war; they are a historic nation based on two points of polarity. They see peace and war as coexisting with each other.
China accepts and believes opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Flowing between these polar states is a natural dynamic to be used -with serious contemplation- in advancing objectives as needed.
Peace or war. Win or lose. Yin and Yang. Culturally there is no middle position in dealings with China; they are not constitutionally capable of understanding or valuing the western philosophy of mutual benefit where concession of terms gains a larger outcome. If it does not benefit China, it is not done. The outlook is simply, a polarity of peace or war. In politics or economics the same perspective is true. It is a zero-sum outlook.
Historic Chinese geopolitical policy, vis-a-vis their totalitarian control over political sentiment (action) and diplomacy through silence, is evident in the strategic use of the space between carefully chosen words, not just the words themselves.
Each time China takes aggressive action (red dragon) China projects a panda face through silence and non-response to opinion of that action;…. and the action continues. The red dragon has a tendency to say one necessary thing publicly, while manipulating another necessary thing privately. The Art of War.
President Trump is the first U.S. President to understand how the red dragon hides behind the panda mask.
It is specifically because he understands that Panda is a mask that President Trump messages warmth toward the Chinese people, and pours vociferous praise upon Xi Jinping, while simultaneously confronting the geopolitical doctrine of the Xi regime.
In essence Trump is mirroring the behavior of China while confronting their economic duplicity. (more)
The Chinese delegation is still coming to DC on Wednesday/Thursday but it is doubtful anything will stop the increased tariffs from taking place Friday morning.