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On the Recent Press Conference of China's Minister of Foreign Affairs

26 4 16
19.03.2019

The National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China’s annual meetings have traditionally been used as a platform for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to outline key positions the country has taken in its foreign policy. Entrenched stances are held up and new trends come to light at the same time, which are driven by important changes taking place both within China and in the global political landscape.

The Second Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress, which was held in Beijing between 5 March and 15 March 2019, lived up to the expectations. On March 8, Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed journalists before moving on to answer 21 questions, most of which came from the foreign journalists who attended the Chinese Foreign Minister’s press conference.

Needless to say, the speech and the questions that followed were dominated by one crucially important issue—the present situation which is unfolding in relations between the United States and China, due to the de facto trade war between the most powerful two nations in the world—which consequently has an impact on the entire world. Last spring, the US President, who had set out to “restore fairness” in trade relations with all its foreign trading partners, triggered the trade war.

China has lent the most weight to the staggering imbalance in US foreign trade (almost half of the total trade deficit). Moreover, the “protective measures” which were taken as early as last year have not only failed to alleviate the US trade deficit with China; in 2018, the deficit actually grew by 11.6% compared to 2017 (from 375 to almost 420 billion dollars). The reason for this is an increase in the volume of forward purchases made by US companies in the last two quarters of 2018, in anticipation of rising prices on Chinese goods.

Experts are at a loss for why the number of Americans being hired fell by more than 10 times in February 2019 compared to just last month in January of the same year. Is this just a temporary, local phenomenon, or does it mark the beginning of a long-term negative trend? In both cases, the trade war with China is a constant in every expert’s explanation.

Wang Yi’s comments included........

© New Eastern Outlook