Xi-Trump meeting a 'golden opportunity' to ease tensions

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The proposed meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump during the G20 summit would provide a "golden opportunity" for the world's two largest economies to reduce tensions, as the high-level talks and dialogue mechanisms failed to produce positive results in 2018, according to an expert.

In 2017, China and the United States agreed to set up four high-level dialogue mechanisms involving diplomacy and security, economy, law enforcement and cyber security as a positive result of the Mar-a-Lago resort summit between Xi and Trump. But the mechanisms did not work well in 2018, a year in which the two leaders did not hold a face-to-face meeting, but only had several telephone calls.

"So, the Xi-Trump meeting during this year's G20 summit could become the only valuable opportunity for the two countries to end the ongoing trade war, which is the thorniest issue for the China-US relationship," said Da Wei, director of the Institute of American Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Trump has said that the United States would impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion starting January 1, 2019. He has also said that additional Chinese goods worth $267 billion would be subject to tariffs if he fails to reach an agreement with Xi.

"Ahead of January 1, if China and the United States will reach a framework agreement, for example, if the two leaders authorize their teams to start an immediate consultation, it will be good for ending the trade war," said Da.

But the expert also expressed his concern about the relationship, as senior officials from both countries have traded harsh remarks before the G20 summit.

On November 21, Kevin Hassett, one of Trump's top economic advisers, suggested that there could be a case for "evicting China" from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Two days later, China urged the WTO to close loopholes and correct practices of some member states that damage global trade, and warned of a profound crisis facing the organization's existence.

In October, US Vice President Mike Pence accused China of orchestrating a military, economic and political campaign to undermine the Trump administration and bolster Chinese influence in America and worldwide. The remark was strongly denounced by China.

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