The U.S. and China leaders agreed at the Beijing summit last week that there were no quick solutions to their structurally unbalanced trade relations. In a remarkable departure from his earlier statements, President Donald Trump also acknowledged that this decades-old problem was mainly caused by America's negligent and inept trade policies.
That was not news to the Chinese because those issues have been thoroughly discussed through diplomatic channels much before Trump's "state visit plus."
And neither is it newsworthy that China won't be rushed. China, in case some impatient Westerners need to be reminded, will open up in its own time and on its own terms in a tough and excruciatingly difficult negotiating process. That was a hint Chinese Premier Li Keqiang dropped during his meeting with Trump, when he said that "the two countries should open up to each other," inviting the U.S. to increase "high-tech exports to China," an area of trade in "dual-use technologies" Washington keeps off limits.
Meanwhile, as a pacifier, Trump was offered a mega "hongbao" — China's traditional gift for special occasions — in the form of hundreds of billions of done and potential deals as a down payment on the long years ahead to reach a more balanced U.S.-China trade relationship. While Beijing was promoting its so-called win-win approach, Washington probably didn't even notice that this was American money China was recycling from its trade surplus accounts.