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U.S.-China trade talks as seen from Tokyo

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Last week in this column I wrote: “As long as Washington and Beijing misread each other, Trump’s personal ‘art of the deal’ will not work against a country like China with 3,000 years of human history.” No wonder the trade negotiations stalled on Friday without making any deal, reducing prospects for a breakthrough.

The mainstream media in Tokyo seem to be ambivalent. The editorials of the six major daily newspapers available in my neighborhood are divided. As the summaries below show, some of the editorials criticize the United States’s aggressive negotiating style but ask both countries to resume talks, while others urge China to make progress in structural reform.

Tokyo Shimbun: Twenty-five Percent Tariffs Imposed, We Hope a Dialogue Takes Place at the Summit Level. Ramifications for the Japanese economy are possible and, if the aggressive American negotiating style is allowed, the next targets will be the European Union and Japan.

Asahi: The U.S. and China Must Continue Their Trade Talks Patiently. While the EU and Japan consider U.S. demands to be reasonable, American actions cannot be justified if they ignore international trade rules.

Mainichi: More U.S. Tariffs on China, Serious Situation Beyond Commerce and Trade. While China needs to reform itself, if Americans try to pressure and force China to change, it will significantly destabilize the international order.

Nikkei: The U.S. and China Should Continue Dialogue to Solve the Trade War. While its claims are legitimate, the U.S. must correct Chinese behavior through negotiations while refraining from high tariffs that are incompatible........

© The Japan Times