A Background Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the Visit of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China focused on the opportunity for the two leaders to exchange views on each other’s respective priorities and to chart a way forward for the U.S.-China bilateral relationship.
” Together, the United States and China represent 40% of the global economy, and as the world’s two largest economies, there’s no greater or more consequential economic relationship. Indeed, our economies have become increasingly interdependent through growing trade and investment.
‘The key premise of our economic relationship is that bilateral trade and investment should be mutually beneficial. However, progress on a range of bilateral economic issues has become increasingly difficult. This reflects a slowdown and, in certain cases in our view, a retreat in China’s move toward giving the market a more decisive role in the Chinese economy.
“Accordingly, there will be significant trade and economic issues to discuss between our Presidents at the summit. President Trump is very concerned about how the imbalance in our economic relationship affects American workers and wants to address these issues in a candid and productive manner. President Trump will convey to President Xi the importance of establishing an economic relationship that is fair, balanced, and based on a principle of reciprocity.”
While security issues, such as North Korea, and the South China Sea were to be discussed, ” the primary purpose of the meeting is to set a framework for discussions on trade and investment. I can’t tell you whether they’re going to get into specific issues to resolve at this time or to be on the agenda for discussion and hopefully early resolution in the weeks and months ahead. But this is the introductory meeting to put a framework in place for how we’re going to discuss and address these matters.”
“We want to work with the Chinese in a constructive manner to reduce the systemic trade and investment barriers that they’ve created that lead to an uneven playing field for U.S. companies. We want the playing field to be level so that bilateral trade investment can be mutually beneficial.”
With respect to the South China Sea, … “I do expect that maritime issues will come up. The United States certainly will continue to fly and sail where international law allows. And I would not be surprised if that came up in conversation. It’s no secret that the President was disturbed by activities that took place under the last administration. And he and his Cabinet members have been on the record as saying that that has got to stop.”
With respect to North Korea, … “We would like to work on North Korea together — that there’s an opportunity. And, in some ways, it’s really — we’ve been left, after 20-some-odd years of trying pretty much everything, to bring about a safe and denuclearized peninsula. And so this is, in some ways, a test of the relationship, I think.”
“Because of the amount of leverage that China has economically, the best outcome would be one in which China very thoroughly implements those U.N. sanctions and resolutions. That is really what we’re working toward, and I’ll just leave it at that. ”
“It is now urgent because we feel that the clock is very, very quickly running out. And again, we would have loved to see North Korea join the community of nations. They’ve been given that opportunity over the course of different dialogues and offers over the course of four administrations, with some of our best diplomats and statesmen doing the best they could to bring about a resolution. The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table for us.”
With respect to China’s request to be considered a market economy? What should we read into the action of the Commerce Department review?
“One of the issues currently that we’re closely involved with is whether China will continue to be a nonmarket economy at the WTO — they’ve brought a case against the European Union on that — or whether there will be an effort to make them a market economy. And for us, it’s very important that they continue to be designated as a nonmarket economy.”