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BEIJING (MNI)

A virtual meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping looks likely to take place on the sidelines of the Global Leaders' Climate Summit Apr. 22 despite last week's rancorous China-U.S. meeting in Alaska, Beijing policy advisors told MNI.

The public rebukes exchanged by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China's foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi were partly driven by the need to demonstrate toughness to domestic audiences, the advisors said, adding that the talks paved the way for improvements in many areas and even raised hopes for a fresh trade agreement by the end of the year.

The spokesperson's office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on whether the two presidents would meet in April.

According to the advisors, both China and the U.S. have shown a willingness to engage in areas such as border re-openings and vaccine cooperation with the talks also touching on sensitive areas such as the expulsion of journalists by both countries and the closure of Chinese consulates during the presidency of Donald Trump.

A continued expansion of imports from the U.S. by China, and further market-oriented reforms, could, if Washington reciprocates, lead to a new trade deal to replace the Phase One agreement which expires this year, the advisors said.

COMPETE, COOPERATE

An overnight thaw in the bilateral relationship was never on the cards, the advisors said.

China's special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his U.S. counterpart will likely be in contact before the April summit to discuss issues to be covered by Xi and Biden, advisors said.

"That the two countries can reach some consensus to talk about climate change and pandemic-related matters indicates that they can compete as well as cooperate with each other," said Wang Huiyao, founder and president of China Center of Globalisation and an advisor to the State Council.

China will elaborate further on its goal to achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, said Wang Huiyao. Another advisor, He Weiwen, a former economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco and New York who is now a senior fellow at CCG, agreed that China and the U.S. should cooperate to ensure they meet their climate promises.

MNI Singapore Bureau | +65 9 632 1991 | sumathi.vaidyanathan.ext@marketnews.com
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MNI Singapore Bureau | +65 9 632 1991 | sumathi.vaidyanathan.ext@marketnews.com
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