To Xi or not to Xi: Will he meet with Trump at the G-20?
Jun 13, 2019
- President Xi Jinping is expected to meet with President Trump at the G-20 summit later this month, but will he?
- China’s foreign ministry has yet to confirm a meeting with Trump, something that is not necessarily out of the ordinary; they often confirm last minute
- What’s clear, though, is that President Xi is in a tough spot on what to do next: negotiate with Trump and potentially appear weak at home OR maintain a tough stance, refuse to accept US demands and feed the growing nationalism at home while appeasing the hardliners
- Trump has said meet me, or else…
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- Xi could stand firm and refuse to accede to Trump’s demands and accept additional tariffs
- China may see early 2020 US presidential polls that show President Trump trailing a number of Democratic candidates
- China could just wait and take its chances on facing a new president
- With the situation in Hong Kong deteriorating this week with 1 million protesters on the streets on Sunday, this is a direct challenge to Xi’s efforts to bring Hong Kong closer to the mainland
- Standing up to the US at this point may aid in deflecting from the ugly scenes in Hong Kong that don’t exactly convey strength for Beijing
- Conversely, Xi could meet with Trump, try to dial down tensions and seek concessions from the US on some of its demands
- President Trump made clear that he wants China to accept the deal that was made a month ago and that he will accept nothing less
- Xi faces a slowing economy and tariffs on $300 billion of additional exports to the US would have a crippling effect
- Manufacturers can move production out of China much easier than just 10 years ago and China understands this
- Increase stimulus spending is softening the blow for now, but that has its limits
- The last time President Trump and President Xi met at the G-20 in Argentina, the two agreed to a 90-day truce which allowed for additional negotiations
- Negotiations collapsed a little over a month ago and tensions have risen since
- Late in the day White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said President Trump is still waiting for an answer about his meeting with President Xi Jinping