Trump's team is 'very confusing' to diplomats, China's ambassador to US says

Key Points
  • The role of President Donald Trump's various policy advisers is "very confusing" to diplomats, China's U.S. ambassador told Fox News.
  • Diplomats are uncertain whether hardliners or moderates in the administration are driving policy decisions, Ambassador Cui Tiankai said.
  • Tiankai suggested a U.S. destroyer bore responsibility for a recent near collision with a Chinese military vessel in the South China Sea.
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai speaks at a reception celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C., the United States, on July 27, 2017.
Ting Shen | Xinhua | Getty Images

Chinese officials, as well as diplomats from around the world, are confused about which officials in the Trump administration are driving policy decisions, China's ambassador to the United States told Fox News on Sunday.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Ambassador Cui Tiankai said it's unclear to him whether President Donald Trump is listening primarily to hardliners like White House Director of Trade Peter Navarro, or relative moderates like chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

"Honestly, I've been talking to ambassadors of other countries in Washington, D.C., and this is also part of their problem," Tiankai told the network. "They don't know who is the final decision-maker. Of course, presumably, the president will take the final decision, but who is playing what role? Sometimes it could be very confusing."

China and the United States are embroiled in a months-long trade dispute, in which the world's two largest economies have slapped tariffs worth billions of dollars on each other's goods. At the heart of the dispute are U.S. allegations of Chinese theft of intellectual property and unfair trade practices, which Tiankai rejected in his interview.

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Tiankai said a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina next month would "probably" take place.

In the wide-ranging interview, the ambassador addressed a number of flash points between the countries, including the recent near collision of a U.S. naval destroyer with a Chinese ship in the South China Sea, where Beijing has militarized two contested man-made islands.

The Pentagon accused the Chinese vessel of making "aggressive maneuvers," but Tiankai suggested the U.S. Navy bore responsibility for the incident.

"It's not Chinese warships that are going to the coast of California, or to the Gulf of Mexico," he told Fox News. "It's so close to the Chinese islands and it's so close to the Chinese coast. So who is on the offensive? Who is on the defensive? This is very clear."

The full story can be found on Fox News' website.

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