Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.As leaders from the Group of 20 begin their summit on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, all eyes will be on President Xi Jinping of China and President Donald Trump of the United States, who have planned a much-anticipated face-to-face meeting over dinner Saturday night. The two leaders are embroiled in a damaging trade war, and the two countries’ broader bilateral relationship has deteriorated as well. Just last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence laid out America’s “new approach to China,” which reflects the Trump administration’s thinking about “a new era of great power competition.”
The meeting has been in the works at least since October, when the White House announced it would move ahead on planning for it. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, has been one of the officials pushing for the meeting on the American side, but on Tuesday he cast doubt on the potential for a productive outcome. He said it was up to Xi to “step up and come up with new ideas” to break the trade deadlock. On Monday, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he expects to move ahead with boosting tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 percent on Jan. 1.