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Trump expects little gain in upcoming US-China trade talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Trump reacts to a question during an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on August 20, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

US President Donald Trump has emphasized his low expectation of potential progress in trade talks between senior US and Chinese officials in Washington this week, predicting “no time frame” for ending a trade dispute with Beijing.

“I’m like them (the Chinese); I have a long horizon,” Trump said Monday in an exclusive interview with Reuters.

Trump has initiated what is effectively a trade war with China by imposing unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the Asian country. Beijing has introduced countermeasures. The trade war between the world’s two largest economies now risks escalating as neither seems ready to compromise.

‘China has done too well for too long’

The American president said Chinese negotiators would be arriving in the US capital shortly, adding however that he did not “anticipate much” from the mid-level talks.

Trump said ending the trade dispute with China would “take time because China’s done too well for too long, and they’ve become spoiled. They dealt with people that, frankly, didn’t know what they were doing, to allow us to get into this position,” in an apparent reference to former US officials.

He further accused China of manipulating its yuan currency to compensate for the payment of the Washington-imposed tariffs.

Trump defends the tariffs as good for America and part of his administration’s bid to pressure China into revising its economic policies to better protect intellectual property, end its industrial subsidy efforts, and open its markets to more foreign competition.

Beijing, however, rejects Washington’s allegations that it systematically forces the unfair transfer of US technology and insists that it adheres to World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations.

The trade talks this week take place as new US tariffs on $16 billion in Chinese goods go into effect on Thursday, along with retaliatory tariffs imposed by Beijing on American goods of equal worth.

The meetings, expected to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, are the first formal US-China trade talks since June, when US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met China’s economic adviser Liu He in Beijing but returned with no agreements.

Trump ‘most likely’ to meet North Korea’s Kim again

During the Reuters interview at the White House, Trump also said he would “most likely” meet North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un again and claimed personal credit for halting Pyongyang’s weapons testing.

“I stopped (North Korea’s) nuclear testing. I stopped (North Korea’s) missile testing. Japan is thrilled. What’s going to happen? Who knows? We’re going to see,” Trump boasted.

This is while Kim himself unilaterally announced the suspension of his country’s missile and nuclear tests as a goodwill gesture in April — before meeting for the first time with Trump in July.

In this file photo, taken on June 12, 2018, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un (R) walks with US President Donald Trump during a break in talks at a summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (By AFP)

Asked about the prospect of another meeting with Kim, Trump said, “It’s most likely we will, but I just don’t want to comment.”

‘Great chemistry’

The American president further credited his “great chemistry” with Kim for averting a potential nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula and said he thought North Korea had made specific moves toward denuclearization despite numerous statements to the contrary by his administration’s officials and US lawmakers.

“I like him. He likes me,” Trump said, referring to the North Korean leader. “There’s no ballistic missiles going up, there’s a lot of silence... I have very good personal relations with Chairman Kim, and I think that’s what holds it together.”

In spite of the summit in July, follow-on negotiations between the US and North Korea have stalled amid divergent standpoints.

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