US, China Statements Show Stark Differences on Trump–Xi Meeting

June 30, 2019 Updated: June 30, 2019

After U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a closed-door meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit on June 29, the Chinese regime recounted what was said during the meeting.

But that differed from the U.S. administration’s recap.

The sideline meeting in Osaka, Japan, was the first time Trump and Xi met in person since December last year at a G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, Argentina. U.S.-China trade talks broke down in early May when Washington accused Beijing of reneging on commitments to enact sweeping economic and trade reforms.

During the 80-minute meeting, Trump and Xi talked about the trade dispute, Huawei, and the issue of Chinese studying in the United States.

Trade Talks

At a press conference held on June 29, Trump announced that after speaking with Xi, they agreed to resume trade talks. “We will be continuing to negotiate… We’re going to work with China on where we left off, to see if we can make a deal.”

He added that the U.S. side would continue to work toward a more balanced trade relationship. In 2018, the United States had a $419.5 billion trade deficit with China.

“We can’t have it where the United States loses this kind of money for the privilege of building up China. It has to be a fair deal,” Trump said.

On the Chinese side, state-run media Xinhua published a press release from the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department that emphasized China’s interests.

“China has the sincerity to continue the negotiations with the United States to control the differences, but the negotiations must be equal, with both respecting each other to solve reasonable concerns of each party. China must safeguard its core interests on issues related to China’s sovereignty and dignity,” it read.

Tariffs

Trump said he agreed not to impose further tariffs on $325 billion of Chinese imports while the trade negotiations restart.

However, tariffs currently implemented would not be lifted, he said.

The Chinese press release was more vague, only saying: “The United States won’t impose new tariffs on Chinese goods anymore.” The statement did not mention the current tariffs. The use of the word “anymore” is also more definitive than what Trump said.

Buying US Imports

After the U.S.-China trade dispute commenced last year, Beijing retaliated with tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, including pork, soybeans, corn, and sorghum. China promised to import more U.S. agricultural goods, according to Trump at the press conference.

“They’re going to start that very soon, almost immediately,” Trump said. “We’re going to give them lists of things that we’d like them to buy.”

But the Chinese statement said: “The U.S. side hopes China can import more from them.”

Huawei

Chinese tech giant Huawei has been shunned by the U.S. telecom market due to U.S. officials repeatedly warning of the national security risks associated with its products. They had said Huawei products could be exploited by Beijing to conduct espionage, given the firm’s close times to the Chinese regime. The company has continually denied the accusations.

In May, citing national security reasons, the U.S. Department of Commence added Huawei to its entity list, effectively banning U.S. companies from selling their technology and supply parts to the Chinese firm.

Trump said that after meeting with Xi, he has agreed to easing the restrictions on Huawei.

“We send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things that they make. And I said that that’s okay, that we will keep selling that product,” Trump said. When a reporter asked for clarification, Trump said he would allow U.S. companies to sell to Huawei “equipment where there is no great national emergency problem with it.”

The Chinese statement made no mention whatsoever of Huawei.

Extradition of Meng Wanzhou

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada in December 2018 on request by U.S. authorities. Federal prosecutors have charged Meng with fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. As extradition hearings are set to begin in Canada, the Chinese regime has repeatedly pressured the Canadian government to drop her case.

When asked whether the two leaders talked about the Meng case, Trump said: “We didn’t discuss Ms. Meng… We did discuss Huawei but we didn’t discuss her situation.”

The Chinese statement made no mention of this.

Chinese Students

With rising concerns about academic espionage by Chinese nationals studying or working in the United States, the U.S. administration recently made visa restrictions for Chinese nationals studying in science and tech fields that the Chinese regime has targeted for aggressive development.

Trump said he would like to establish a way for top Chinese students to stay in the United States. “We’re going to call it the ‘smart person’s waiver.’ But we’re going to make it so that they can not only stay but maybe they have access to green cards.  We want to keep these people here.”

Beijing only stated: “Trump said China has many excellent students and he welcomes Chinese students to study in the United States.”

Taiwan

The self-ruled island of Taiwan has its own democratically elected government, military, and currency, but Beijing has claimed that it is a renegade province that must be united with the mainland someday. The Chinese statement claimed that “Trump [told Xi] that he values China’s concerns on the Taiwan issue and the U.S. has supported the one-China policy continually.”

Trump did not mention Taiwan during his press conference. U.S. relations with Taiwan has recently been bolstered with arms sales, diplomatic visits, and U.S. naval visits.

Korean Peninsula

Trump also made no mention of discussions about North Korea with Xi.

But Beijing stated that after Xi talked about the North Korea issue, Trump responded: “The U.S. values the important position of China in the Korean Peninsula issue, and the U.S. would like to maintain communication and cooperation with China.”

Trump and Kim met each other for about one hour on June 30 at the demilitarized zone at the border between North and South Korea, but both states have not commented about the details of their meeting.

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