World leaders wrestle with a maelstrom of complex, burning issues as they prepare for November 30 summit…
The G-20 in Buenos Aires on November 30 could set the world on fire – perhaps literally. Let’s start with the US-China trade war. Washington won’t even start discussing trade with China at the G-20 unless Beijing comes up with a quite detailed list of potential concessions.
The word from Chinese negotiators is not at all bleak. Some sort of agreement could be reached on about a third of US demands. Debate on another third could ensue. But the last third is absolutely off-limits – due to Chinese national security imperatives, such as refusing to allow the opening of the domestic cloud computing market to foreign competition.
Beijing has appointed Vice-Premier Liu He and Vice-President Wang Qishan to supervise all negotiations with Washington. They face an uphill task: to pierce through President Donald Trump’s limited attention span.
On top of it, Beijing demands a “point person” with the authority to negotiate on behalf of Trump – considering the mixed-message traffic jam out of Washington.
Now compare this with the message coming from the research institute fabulously named Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era under the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC): the US has started the “trade friction” essentially “to hinder China’s industrial upgrading.”
That’s the consensus at the top.
And the clash is bound to get worse. Vice President Mike Pence accused China of “meddling in American democracy,” “debt diplomacy,” “currency manipulation,” and “IP theft.” The Foreign Ministry in Beijing dismissed it all as “ridiculous.”
It’s enlightening to pay close attention to what Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the Council on Foreign Relations – as diplomatically as possible: “China will follow a path of development different from historical powers.” And China will not seek hegemony.
From the point of view of the US National Security Strategy, that’s irrelevant; China has been framed as a fierce competitor and even a threat.