Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

China makes 'stern representations' over USA warship in South China Sea

Trump's trade negotiators finally get started with Beijing as 90-day clock ticks US and China agreed to hold trade talks on January 7-8 on Beijing
Russell Knight | 07 January, 2019, 19:24

The incident coincided with the start of high-level talks on trade between the U.S. and China, which kicked off on Monday in Beijing.

Ministry spokesman Lu said Monday during a routine briefing that Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels were dispatched to identify the US vessel and warn it to leave the area near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Trump has imposed tariffs to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from corporate espionage to market access and industrial subsidies.

A U.S. Navy ship sailed within 12 miles of China's Paracel Island chain on Monday, a move likely to provoke Beijing which claims almost of the strategic waters in the South China Sea. The two sides have provided scant information about the discussions, and neither has indicated its stance has changed since a December 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to postpone further increases.

The US delegation will be led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish.

"Both sides are close to finding a solution to address the trade imbalance", the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the unnamed adviser as saying.

The troubled waters of the South China Sea are disputed by several nations of the region, namely Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Taiwan - which Beijing sees as an integral part of the mainland.

"Right now, it appears that China is [suffering the most] but if you start looking at what's happening in the United States, the volatility on the market, the long-term affects of this I think you'll find that both are suffering", Tangen said. "Their economy's not doing well", Trump told reporters at the White House.

"I think that gives them a great incentive to negotiate".

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Talks in Switzerland would follow a meeting due to start in Beijing today between U.S. and Chinese officials, the first formal gathering between the two sides since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on December 1 agreed to a 90-day tariff truce, following a widely anticipated dinner at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires.

It is possible that if Trump, who is making his second trip to Davos as president, does not meet with Wang, one or more of his top trade lieutenants would instead.

'Both sides have the responsibility to create the necessary positive atmosphere for this, ' he said.

In addition to the bruising trade war, China is also grappling with a slowing domestic economy, with growth slowing to 6.5 percent in the third quarter, as a battle against debt has ramped up.

If there is no deal by March 1, Washington has said it will go ahead with a sharp hike in tariffs on Chinese goods originally set for January 1.

The outcome of the talks, apart from its implication for a wider regional economy, including Australia's, that is acutely sensitive to China's economic health, is critical for the outlook for the global economy and global financial markets. Trump said on Friday he wasn't concerned about Apple's revenue warning.

The standoff also reflects American anxiety about China's rise as a potential competitor in telecommunications and other technology.

"We urge the United States to immediately cease this kind of provocation..."

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