China and US Remain Worlds Apart on Major Issues
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Sino/US geopolitical agendas are polar opposite. Both right wings of the US one-party state seek dominance over other nations, wanting their sovereignty subordinated to US interests.
China seeks cooperative relations with other countries, confrontation with none. It’s at peace with its neighbors while the US wages endless wars in multiple theaters to gain imperial trophies.
US hostility toward China is all about its sovereign independence, growing economic, industrial, and technological development, along with its increasing political influence worldwide.
The US rage to dominate the Indo-Pacific region threatens Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Multiple bilateral negotiating rounds since spring 2018 failed because of unacceptable Trump regime demands no responsible leadership would accept.
According to Bloomberg News on Thursday, “Chinese officials are casting doubts about reaching a comprehensive long-term trade deal with the US even as the two sides get close to signing a ‘phase one’ agreement” on issues both sides can agree on.
Irreconcilable differences remain on major issues, Bloomberg adding: “Chinese officials have warned they won’t budge on the thorniest issues…”
They have “low expectations that future negotiations could result in anything meaningful” — knowing as well that the US can never be trusted, making one-sided demands in return for hollow promises to be broken.
A stumbling block in current talks is reluctance of the US to rescind unacceptable tariffs on Chinese imports, additional ones scheduled to be imposed in mid-December on consumer goods, if impasse in talks continues.
Beijing’s position is clear. It wants all punitive tariffs removed. As long as they remain in place with the threat of additional ones, bilateral relations will be more hostile than friendly.
Trump regime trade representative Robert Lighthizer wants duties maintained to enforce whatever China agrees on, what’s unacceptable to Beijing.
A limited “phase one” deal alone remains possible, involving Chinese purchases of US agricultural and other products, along with protecting US intellectual property.
Reportedly, the Trump regime only agreed to hold back on US tariffs scheduled to be imposed on October 15, possibly on December 15 ones as well — new duties subject to imposition any time ahead at DJT’s discretion, an unacceptable situation.
According to Trump, “phase two” talks will begin when current talks are concluded. China clearly won’t accept US demands that aim to undermine the country’s economic, financial, industrial and technological development.
As a result, impasse on major issues is highly likely to continue without resolution no matter how many bilateral rounds of talks are held.
Former Chinese Commerce Ministry official Zhou Xiaoming said “(i)f US demands are too much, such as insisting on the so-called structural changes that will alter China’s economic model, then” an overall agreement won’t be possible.
Separately on Thursday, the US Senate unanimously passed the so-called Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act.
House passage of similar legislation is certain, the measure unanimously approved by the body’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
It calls for enhancing US support for Taiwan, including greater “economic, security, and diplomatic engagement” with countries that have “strengthened, enhanced, or upgraded relations with Taiwan.”
At the same time, it calls for countering countries that “undermine Taiwan,” along with wanting the island state given observer status in the UN and other international bodies, as well as a trade agreement with the US.
On January 1, 1979, the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations agreed to by Jimmy Carter and China’s Deng Xiaoping formally established bilateral relations, ending official recognition of Taiwan, announced by Carter in December 1978.
The (1992 Consensus) one China principle affirms a single sovereign China comprised of the mainland and Taiwan.
Trump earlier saying “(e)verything is under negotiation including one China” didn’t go down well in Beijing. Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang stressed that this issue is “nonnegotiable.”
One China alone exists, Taiwan an inalienable part of it, he stressed. The People’s Republic of China is its only legitimate government, “an internationally recognized fact, and no one can change it,” he explained.
Normalized bilateral relations depend on it. Congressional legislation likely to be signed into law by Trump after House passage will further aggravate things, making resolution of differences all the harder.
Academic Arthur Ding said the measure virtually certain to become US law “reflects that the anti-China position is the mainstream opinion in the US Congress,” adding:
“With his support for Taiwan, Trump is expected to sign the act, but it remains to be seen how the law would be implemented.”
The measure shifts the US position toward Taiwan’s independence, away from decades of Washington one-China policy.
Enactment into law won’t go down well in Beijing.
A Final Comment
On Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He…US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin late Friday “reached consensus on principles” with no further elaboration.
China’s Commerce Ministry said both “sides conducted serious and constructive discussions on properly addressing their core concerns.”
A Lighthizer statement said both countries “made progress in a variety of areas and are in the process of resolving outstanding issues,” without elaborating on which areas or issues were discussed.
“Discussions will continue at the deputy level,” the US statement added.
The above remarks refer to so-called “phase one” issues discussed above. On major ones, both countries are irreconcilably apart.
Xinhua reported on late Friday talks by Chinese and US officials, saying:
“Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, held a phone conversation at the request of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin late Friday,” adding:
“In the phone talks, the two sides had earnest and constructive discussions on properly addressing each other’s core concerns, and reached principled consensus.”
“The two sides also discussed next arrangements for the consultations.”
“Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China Yi Gang, and Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe also joined the talks.”
The above remarks indicate that issues perhaps agreed on so far exclude major differences between both sides.
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