Trump meets German, Chinese leaders
President Donald Trump neared the end of an attenuated visit to the Group of 20 summit here Saturday, sitting down with the leaders of China and Germany, two countries he has threatened with trade wars over what he calls their unfair commercial practices.
“We have a tremendous trade imbalance, but we’re going to get that straightened out,” Trump said before a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. “We all understand each other.”
Merkel said the two leaders would also discuss Ukraine, where a clash between Russian and Ukrainian ships last week caused tensions to flare between the two neighbors. It was cited by Trump as the reason he canceled a meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the meeting in Buenos Aires.
Later Saturday, Trump began a dinner meeting with President Xi Jinping of China to discuss ways to avoid a new round of tariffs that some analysts fear could provoke a fullfledged economic Cold War between the world’s two largest economies.
“The relationship is very special, the relationship that I have with President Xi,” Trump told reporters, as he sat across a long table from the Chinese leader. “I think that is going to be a very primary reason why we'll probably end up with getting something that will be good for China and good for the United States.”
Xi replied, “Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest of world peace and prosperity.”
China is seeking to prevent Trump from following through on a plan to raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent, from 10 percent, on Jan. 1. In return, U.S. officials said, the Chinese were likely to offer to increase their purchases of U.S. soybeans and natural gas.
Neither a dramatic breakthrough nor an acrimonious breakdown was expected at the dinner. The most likely outcome, officials said, was an agreement to keep talking – a truce not unlike the one that Trump agreed to recently with the European Union.