The outcome of U.S. – Russia and U.S. – China meetings could not be more different. While the meeting between U.S. Secretary of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia concluded that relationship between two countries at the lowest point, the outcome of Donald Trump’s meeting with Xi Jinping was presented to the public in much brighter and optimistic colours.
The other interesting aspect is that the result of Tillerson – Lavrov meeting was more or less in line with expectations. However, taking into account Trump’s previously made statements that China rapes the U.S by stealing jobs, his promise to impose additional tax on Chinese goods and labelling it as currency manipulator that should be punished, the official reaction on both sides expressing positive outlook for mutual cooperation and , is indeed surprising.
What we know is that the Chinese president was not rattled by Mr Trump’s decision to strike Syria. According to the US Secretary of State, “President Xi expressed an appreciation for the president letting him know and providing the rationale and said, as it was told to me, he understood that such a response is necessary when people are killing children.”
Some observers, however, said the US missile attack unravelled Beijing’s well laid plans to present Mr Xi as a global leader on par with Mr Trump (remarkable indication on who really benefits from Trump’s spontaneous decisions).
We also know that both leaders agreed on a 100-day plan for trade talks aimed at boosting US exports and reducing China’s trade surplus with the US, but revealed little detail on the plan.
The Straits Times indicates that Xi promised a package of Chinese investments aimed at creating more than 700,000 American jobs – the same number China’s regional rival Japan pledged to Trump during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Mar-a-Lago in February.
In return, Xi hoped to obtain assurances from Trump on punitive tariffs and the delay of an American arms sale to Taiwan, at least until after a major Communist Party meeting later this year. Five of the ruling party’s seven most powerful leaders might be replaced at the 19th Party Congress, along with scores of other senior positions. The horse-trading is already underway among party factions.
Chinese had also expressed interest in reducing China’s trade surplus as a way of controlling their own inflation. “That’s the first time I’ve heard them say that in a bilateral context,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
However, is the range of agreed points enough to change attitude from close to hostile to nothing less than a newly found friendship?
Since little details were disclosed and, according to my observation, unreliable nature of the White House statements, the international community is left with the only option to gain some understanding whether anything substantial was promised that lead to happy faces of both presidents. Especially, the promise which made Xi happy.
This only option is to closely monitor the events that would start unfolding in the near future which could be a result of what has been promised.
Somehow I am sure China has gained much more out of this meeting. I think it is possible due to dramatic gap in political experience between Trump and Xi. Or, should I say that Xi is enormously experienced politician and Trump has zero political experience and has track record of false statements and four bankrupted businesses.
I also suspect that Trump might promised to leave Asia to China. My suspicion derives from the fact that Japan’s air force scrambled fighter jets to chase away foreign aircraft at record pace in the year to March 31, government figures showed on Thursday (April 13), as Chinese military activity in and around the East China Sea escalated. I found it interesting that coincidentally this happened right after the meeting.
I afraid it is not the only thing that Trump might have promised. I would think it is possible because Trump’s psychological issues are not a secret. However, since his problems are known worldwide, it would be naive to think that leaders like Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping had no clue about it prior to the public disclosure.
I believe that the longer Donald Trump stays in power, the less influence the United States will have as the global political player.