As Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the US, he will meet his old political rival, US vice-president Joe Biden, in a bid to cool down escalating trade tensions and open trade relations.
President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed outrage over alleged spying and cyberattacks by China’s cyber-espionage units, accusing China of intruding into “cyber networks, mining data and stealing intellectual property”. He said the White House was forced to act under pressure from Congress.
However, the Chinese president would turn this rhetoric on its head in his arrival state visit on Sunday in Wilmington, Delaware, where he will meet Biden to launch a new trade agreement. The prime minister of China, Li Keqiang, will visit Washington in June.
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The China-US annual high-level economic dialogue will follow. In 2016, China had an economic surplus of $337bn with the US, making China the largest source of foreign direct investment in the United States, and the third largest source of foreign trade.
Xi is also coming to the US with a bruising battle over Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea, set to include what appears to be a 90-day troop deployment.
The Chinese vice-president, Wang Yang, dismissed suggestions that Trump is elevating an economic threat for purely domestic political use. He said this approach “doesn’t serve the interests of the country”.
“As for the US’s intention to push this issue [of US-China trade imbalances] through bilateral economic talks … we believe it’s still based on a good faith and is not directed at the people of China,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“This brings us great disappointment and concerns.”
The two sides are determined to avoid major trade war, and hopes will be high for the “Trump China leadership” summit in Argentina at the end of November, before the G20 meeting in Hamburg.
“President Xi and Vice-President Wang will form a wide working group,” said the economic advisor to the Chinese president, Hua Chunying.
“We have also sent separate letters on the sides of President Xi and President Trump regarding a summit between President Xi and President Trump. We hope they can quickly be invited.”