As US equity markets head for yet another week of losses, the hope that President Trump and President Xi will arrive at a breakthrough during the G-20 Summit in Osaka next month is one of the few sources of optimism holding the S&P 500 above 2,800 (need more evidence showing just how central the trade war narrative has become? Look no further than the market shrugging off yesterday’s Fed minutes).
But as the White House has enraged Beijing with its crackdown on Huawei, Chinese officials have a message to the Western media: A meeting between Trump and Xi next month in Osaka – even a brief informal one – is far from a certainty.
One think tank researcher told the South China Morning Post that a meeting between the two leaders next month is “up in the air” as the “current conditions” aren’t right.
“Given the current conditions, what can really come out of the G20?” said Zhang Yansheng, the chief research fellow at the state-backed China Centre for International Economic Exchanges think tank, at a government-arranged press briefing on Wednesday. “We in the East need to save our face whereas the Americans have complete disregard for that. I think we need to wait and see.”
While Zhang’s agency is not directly involved in planning Xi’s overseas trips, his comments suggest that Beijing is not in a rush to arrange a formal sit-down summit between the two leaders as they did in Argentina in December,