China confirms President Xi Jinping’s three-day trip to Japan this week

25-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

President Xi Jinping will attend the G20 summit in Osaka this week, China’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, confirming his first visit to Japan since taking office in 2013.

Xi will travel to Japan on Thursday and is expected to meet his US counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the meeting of leading and emerging economies, which runs from Friday to Saturday.

It is possible the pair will hold formal negotiations over dinner, as they did in Argentina in December at the last G20 summit.

The South China Morning Post reported last week that trade negotiators from China and the US the former led by vice-Premier Liu He and the latter by Trade Representative Robert Lighthiser and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could meet in Osaka as early as Tuesday.

Presidents Xi and Trump are expected to hold talks over dinner, as they did in Argentina in December. (South China Morning Post)

Presidents Xi and Trump are expected to hold talks over dinner, as they did in Argentina in December. (South China Morning Post)

Xi’s attendance at the G20 leaders’ summit and his meeting with Trump will be closely watched around the world as markets and analysts look for signs of where Sino-US relations might be heading.

On Saturday, People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party said in a commentary that the trade war between China and the US could be resolved only through “equal conversation”.

“For the talks to resume… the key is to address the primary concern of the other side. The tariffs already in place must be revoked,” it said.

Shen Jianguang, chief economist at JD Digital and a veteran Chinese economy watcher, said the US may have to make some concessions to reach a deal as Beijing had laid out clear “red lines”.

But compared to the greater rivalry between Beijing and Washington on issues like technology, ideology and geopolitics, resolving the trade dispute should be relatively straightforward, he said.

Meanwhile, China’s state broadcaster CCTV on Friday criticised Washington’s decision to add five Chinese companies to its list of entities considered a threat to national security.

“The US made this move to put more pressure China ahead of the trade talks,” it said, adding that it might produce a result opposite to the one desired by Washington.

The report came after the US commerce department said it had added five Chinese firms that manufacture supercomputers and their components to the entity list, restricting their ability to do business with the US.

The blacklist effectively bars American firms from selling technology to the Chinese organisations without government approval. Last month, the commerce ministry added telecoms giant Huawei to the list, heightening tensions with Beijing.

Bi Jiyao, a researcher affiliated with China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, said the fact Xi and Trump had agreed to talk was a positive step.

“To talk is always better than not talking,” he said at a forum in Beijing. “At least it shows we have the willingness to solve the trade dispute.”

In a telephone conversation on Tuesday, Xi told Trump that China and US should each play a leadership role and seek positive results from the G20 summit to “inject confidence and vitality into global markets”.

Zhang Ping, deputy director of the National Institution for Financial and Development, a top level Chinese think tank, said the two leaders needed to take a global view when they met in Osaka.

The trade war was not only a dispute between China and US but also a concern for other economies, and it was in no one’s interests to drag the global economy into recession, he said.

Kong Xuanyou, China’s new envoy to Japan, said on Friday that he hoped Xi would make an official visit to the country soon, ideally during the cherry blossom season next spring. The foreign ministry statement made no mention of such a visit.



Category: China

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