90 Day Sino/US Truce
Major Sino/US differences are too irreconcilable to resolve. They’re all about China’s growing political, economic, financial, and military clout – the trade deficit between both countries largely a distraction.
Washington seeks global dominance, tolerating no challengers to its aim for dominion over planet earth, its resources and populations.
Obama’s Asia pivot, continued by Trump, is all about reasserting America’s regional presence, advancing its military footprint in a part of the world not its own.
It’s about marginalizing, weakening, containing, and isolating Russia and China, risking confrontation with both countries.
It’s about trying to undermine Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” strategy.
It aims to advance 10 economic sectors to world-class status, including information technology, high-end machinery and robotics, aerospace, marine equipment and ships, advanced rail transport, new-energy vehicles, electric power, agricultural machinery, new materials and biomedical products.
It’s about trying to prevent Beijing from becoming an economic powerhouse, especially in sophisticated technological areas, able to challenge and perhaps surpass America’s prominence.
It’s about trying to transform China and Russia into US vassal states, an agenda requiring unthinkable war to achieve, risking the extinction of global life forms if waged.
Major US differences with China and Russia are all about preventing both countries from undermining Washington’s imperial agenda.
On Saturday, the long-awaited meeting between Trump and China’s Xi Jinping took place on the sides of the G20 summit.
Both leaders agreed to disagree without admitting it in so many words. Trump agreed to kick the can down the road, holding off increasing US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 – 25% for another 90 days to continue trade talks between both countries.
Months of talks achieved little, nothing on key issues. Nor are breakthroughs likely ahead because of Washington’s real objectives explained above.
China agreeing to buy “very substantial” amounts of US goods repeated earlier pledges – a gesture unable to improve bilateral relations because Sino/US trade is unrelated to key bilateral differences.
In 90 days or 90 months, they won’t be resolved because they’re world’s apart. Kicking the can down the road for another three months achieves nothing but delay ahead of another inevitable bilateral clash.
Following their meeting, a statement by Trump and Xi omitted details of their discussion. According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, “intellectual property” is a key bilateral difference.
Other issues include “structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture,” she said.
Discussions will begin straightaway on bilateral differences, aiming to conclude them with an agreement in 90 days, around March 1 – what’s been unattainable so far and most likely beyond reach ahead.
“Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 per cent tariffs will be raised to 25 per cent,” according to the White House, adding:
Beijing agreed to purchase a “very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries. China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”
Pledges by both countries omitted details. Following their meeting, diplomatic rhetoric by Xi and Trump was meaningless boilerplate. The White House calling Saturday talks “highly successful” concealed irreconcilable bilateral differences.
A thaw in relations is pure illusion, disagreements and tensions virtually certain to continue and escalate in the new year.
Bloomberg News noted that Saturday’s “outcome gives both sides enough to boast of a win without resolving the fundamental differences between them.”
Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, a China Daily editorial said “Beijing wants a deal, just as Washington does. And it is willing to cooperate with Washington in dealing with concerns about trade if they are fair-minded,” adding:
“Should there be any other aspirations, such as taking advantage of the trade spat to throttle Chinese growth, then an agreement is unlikely to be reached.”
China’s Global Times said any agreement enhancing the country’s “development is right.”
Breakthroughs on Saturday weren’t expected – nor ahead. Significant progress in resolving what’s been unresolvable for years is highly unlikely in further talks.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."