US President Donald Trump on Friday anticipated that his first summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next week is going to be “very difficult” one as the nation can no longer afford job losses and massive trade deficits with the Communist nation.
Given that the United States has a massive trade deficit with China, American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives, Trump tweeted ahead of his meeting with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on April 6 and 7.
This would be the first meeting between the two leaders in what many argue is the most important bilateral relationship in the world.
“The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses,” Trump said.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump looks forward to meeting President Xi and exchanging views on each other’s respective priorities and to chart a way forward for bilateral ties.
“They will discuss the issues of mutual concern, including North Korea, trade, and regional security,” he said.
Trump has said in recent weeks that North Korea is one of the biggest security challenges he faces as president and has called on China to rein in Pyongyang, which US officials believe is preparing for another nuclear test.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea and China’s continued building of man-made islands are also likely to be raised.
Noting that Trump has spoken to Xi, also General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, over the phone a few times, Spicer said this was an opportunity for the President to develop a relationship in person with his Chinese counterpart.
“But we have big problems, and—I mean, everything from the South China Sea, to trade, to North Korea. There are big issues of national and economic security that need to get addressed, and I think there’s going to be a lot on the table when it comes to that over the two days that they will talk,” Spicer said in response to a question.
There are a lot of big things that the US needs to accomplish with China, and it will work on them, he said.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang underlined the need to see the big picture while fostering mutual interests in trade relations.
“The market dictates that interests between our two countries are structured so that you will always have me and I will always have you,” he told a regular briefing.
“Both sides should work together to make the cake of mutual interest bigger and not simply seek fairer distribution,” he said.
China-US trade in goods amounted to USD 519.6 billion in 2016. China has a large share in the bilateral trade with its exports to the US amounting to over USD 400 billion.
Despite Trump’s fiery attacks on the campaign trail— accusing China of “raping” the US economy and stealing millions of American jobs, among other things—his administration has taken a relatively hands-off approach in dealing with Beijing so far, CNN commented.
Trump has not followed through on campaign promises to label China a “currency manipulator” on day one of his presidency or to impose steep tariffs on all Chinese imports.
He also endorsed the “One China” policy on Taiwan, which has governed the fragile relations between the US, China and Taiwan for decades, after questioning its legitimacy shortly after his election.