US-China rifts widen despite economic headway » Manila Bulletin News

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By Agence France-Presse

Three months after US President Donald Trump hosted a lavish welcome for his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at his Florida resort, the powers have made headway on an ambitious economic plan even as diplomatic rifts between them have widened.

Speaking in Paris on Thursday, the American leader was full of praise for Xi, proclaiming him a “friend” for whom he has “great respect”, a “great leader” and a “very talented man.”

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping
(AP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The expressions of admiration have gone both ways — a day earlier Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had hailed “positive advances” in China-US economic cooperation based on a spirit of “consensus” between the two leaders.

Both sides see moderate progress on a wide-ranging 100-day economic action plan, first unveiled at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in April that covers such areas as financial services, investment, energy and trade — a topic close to the US president’s heart.

Evans Revere, an analyst at Brookings Institution, told AFP: “Both sides seem to share the view that the 100-day plan is largely on track.”

Jake Parker, vice president of the US-China Business Council in Beijing, largely agreed: “Overall, the 100-day outcomes are positive first steps addressing lingering issues in the US-China commercial relationship,” he said, while adding that more needed to be done to address structural issues such as foreign investment restrictions.

But despite the effusive rhetoric, that progress has not been matched in other areas of the relationship with ever widening rifts on a host of foreign policy issues.

The US appears bitterly disappointed over China’s failure to exert pressure on North Korea in the wake of its first ever intercontinental ballistic missile test, while Beijing has been left fuming at American incursions into disputed territory in the South China Sea, arms sales to Taiwan and statements on human rights.

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