The encounter quickly brought ties between the two nations to a seemingly new low.
China and the U.S. are escalating their game of smoke and mirrors ahead of the G-20 summit, where Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump are expected to meet. The leaders could sign a truce deal in the scalding trade war between the world’s two largest economies. But a breakthrough to end the ongoing tariff warfare is unlikely.
As the countdown for the Buenos Aires conclave began, China seemed to offer an olive branch. President Xi called President Trump, apparently to break the cycle of animosity that had spilled over from the arena of trade to the geopolitical turf. Taiwan, the frictions in the South China Sea and China’s alleged internment of around 1 million Uyghur dissidents were grabbing headlines.
So when Mr. Xi dialed his U.S. counterpart’s number, the call appeared timely — perhaps necessary — to douse the many fires that had been lit around bilateral ties. Mr. Trump expectedly took to Twitter to raise expectations about his meeting with Mr. Xi. “Just had a long and very good conversation with President XiJinping. We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade. Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina. Also had good discussion on North Korea!”
But before a sense of optimism could settle in and calm jittery nerves in chanceries and the markets, a barrage of confidence-sapping statements were let loose.
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