Trump’s Grand Tour: Day 5 China
As part of Liberty Nation’s deep dive analysis of President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia, we’ll be examining what events take place, the significance of them, and most importantly, how the media are spinning it.
After yesterday’s ground breaking dinner at the Forbidden City, President Trump and Premiere Xi Jinping will be settling down to real business talks. Whilst various advocacy groups will be pushing for the president to discuss human rights issues at the talks, it is unlikely that these will take place. Instead, the president will be focusing on the threat of North Korea and dealing with the trade imbalance.
One of the key platforms of Donald Trump’s presidency was to bring jobs back to the U.S and cut down the trade imbalance between America and China. At times he has used incendiary rhetoric that has been lambasted by the media as “unhelpful” and “arrogant.” Despite this, the Chinese government has appeared open to dealings as they move a large proportion of their manufacturing to less-developed economies such as Vietnam.
Make no mistake, Donald Trump is a superstar in China and hugely respected by all classes for not only his business acumen but also his lack of “princeling” status. China has long suffered from the children of the rich taking family money and using it only for vanity projects. President Trump took money from his father and built it into a fortune. This alone guarantees him a special status in the hearts of the Chinese who value entrepreneurship and relationship building (Guanxi).
Today was all about meetings, business, and joint statements. The biggest event came with President Trump’s speech about trade. In a continuation of his rhetoric on the unfair trade imbalance, he made it clear that it still exists but that he doesn’t hold China responsible — essentially softening his message:
“I don’t blame China,” he began. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens? I give China great credit.”
He instead blamed former American administrations “for allowing this trade deficit to take place and to grow.”
According to both Chinese and U.S. media, the president has signed deals with the Chinese government worth over $250 billion to the America economy.
It is expected that President Trump will ask for concrete commitments from Premiere Xi in dealing with North Korea. He will want them to be a more public force in showing a commitment to helping the people gain access to education and freedoms enjoyed by the West.
This is the time when Trump will probably pitch the idea of a “minor coalition” involving Japan, South Korea, China, and the U.S. to combat threats and attempt to control incendiary rhetoric from the dictator.
President Xi, short of stating any specific arrangements made regarding North Korea, said that he sought “enduring stability” in the region, and that his country would “fully implement UN Security Council resolutions.”
President Trump is being criticized in the U.S. media for not taking questions from the Chinese media, making him the first president since George H W Bush not to do so. It is being presented as a weakness and a lack of courage in answering what may be difficult questions.
The reality is that all news media is state controlled in China and questions would have to be vetted before being allowed. This was not a Trump decision, but rather one of Chinese protocol. Chinese sources state that if questions are allowed, it usually means that nothing has been accomplished and no one has anything to say.
Behind the Curtain
There is no doubt that President Trump used this opportunity to push for a closer (no
n-public) relationship between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Premiere Xi Jinping. Both Japan and China have a public animosity for past crimes which has led to a lack of cooperation and joint planning. Trump aims to be the man who builds the bridge.
Premiere Xi is well aware of what President Trump is looking for in terms of trade and industry. As China moves (slowly) out of manufacturing, they are aiming to be a tech and services nation; for this they need America’s help and expertise. China has long-suffered from a lack of skilled managers (due to promotions and appointments being awarded based on relationships as opposed to merit) and as such, hires foreign managers for many plants and factories that have international interests. It is this skills base that will define the future trade relationship between the nations.
Expect announcements to be made in the near future about joint ventures opening up on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
Check back in with Liberty Nation tomorrow to get more on this historic Grand Tour.