Trump won't risk blowing up the phase 1 deal with China: Policy expert
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said China’s top foreign policy official committed in a meeting this week to honor all of his nation’s commitments under its first-phase trade deal with President Donald Trump.
“During my meeting with CCP Politburo Member Yang Jiechi, he recommitted to completing and honoring all of the obligations of Phase 1 of the trade deal between our two countries,” Pompeo said in a tweet on Thursday.
It was the first substantive news out of Pompeo’s secretive meeting with Yang at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii on Wednesday.
Concerns had been growing that a sharp drop in oil prices and effects of the coronavirus pandemic would sink the Jan. 15 trade deal, under which China committed to buy an extra US$200 billion of U.S. goods over two years. Trump at one point threatened to “terminate” the agreement.
Pompeo offered no details beyond the tweet, which came at a moment when U.S.-China trade talks have taken on added political implications.
In a book due out next week, former National Security Advisor John Bolton claims that Trump directly linked the talks to his re-election chances, asking Chinese President Xi Jinping during a 2019 meeting to buy more American farm goods and saying it would help him win in 2020, according to an excerpt published by the Wall Street Journal.
In an earlier readout from the talks, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. stressed the need for full transparency and information-sharing during the global COVI-19 pandemic and future outbreaks.
The Wednesday meeting was the first time the two diplomats had met since August 2019, although they had spoken by telephone since then.
“The secretary stressed important American interests and the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions,” Ortagus said in a statement.
The Chinese foreign ministry called the talks “constructive” and said the two men had agreed to implement an earlier consensus agreed to by Trump and Xi.
The meeting came amid a worsening strain in relations between the world’s two largest economies, with clashes on issues from the handling of the coronavirus to human rights and Hong Kong.
The Chinese statement said the two men discussed Hong Kong, Taiwan and the situation of Muslim Uighurs in the far western region of Xinjiang.
Bolton says in his book that Trump encouraged Xi in 2019 to proceed with his program of confining Uighurs in what China portrayed as rehabilitation and training camps. But on Wednesday Trump signed legislation calling for punishment of Chinese officials for imprisoning more than one million Muslims.
Trump and Pompeo have blamed China for the global coronavirus pandemic, which first appeared in the mainland city of Wuhan, and the U.S. has threatened to revoke Hong Kong’s special trading status over concerns that China is seeking to erode the former British colony’s political autonomy.
The trade deal signed in January is the only active area of cooperation between the two nations, but Chinese purchases of agricultural goods are well behind where they need to be to meet its promises and the global recession is damaging trade generally.