Trump-Xi phone call reveals bilateral tensions ahead of G20 summit

World Today

FILE – In this April 7, 2017, file photo President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. The White House is suddenly engaged in a multipronged pressure campaign against Beijing, borne of frustration with the limited results of their much-touted cooperation on ending North Korea’s nuclear threat. On June 29, the Trump administration approved a $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan and blacklisted a small Chinese bank over its business ties with North Korea. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Relations between the U.S. and China are back in rough waters ahead of the G20 Summit. A phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping covered a wide-range of topics straining U.S.-China ties.

Among those topics were containing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as the United States’ naval presence in the South China Sea.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

The call between President Xi and President Trump came as relations between the two countries are strained over a series of recent events.

“President Xi explicitly pointed out that China-U.S. relations have made great progress in recent days. But they have also been affected by some negative factors,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said.

On the call, President Xi voiced opposition to a $1.4 billion U.S. arms deal with the Taiwan region.

“We urge the U.S. to uphold their solemn commitment to the One-China principle and stop any arms sale to Taiwan,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said.

The U.S. has said the deal is no threat to the One-China-Principle.

“There is no change, I should point out, to our long-standing one-China policy which is based as you all know on three joint communiques on the Taiwan Relations Act,” U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Over the weekend, the U.S. sent a warship through Chinese claimed waters in the South China Sea. The Pentagon called it a “Freedom of Navigation” operation, but China said it is illegal and threatens peace and stability in the region.

China also opposed U.S. sanctions targeting several entities and individuals in China that the U.S. claimed have ties the DPRK’s nuclear or missile programs. China opposed any sanctions beyond those put in place by the U.N. Security Council. Despite these challenges, President XI has focused on getting the China-U.S. relationship back on track.

“President Xi also pointed out that the two sides should stay committed to the general direction of China-U.S. relations and focus on cooperation, adhere to the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit, handle our differences properly, in order to enable our relationship to achieve positive outcomes,” Spokesman Shuang said

Later this week, Trump and Xi will join other leaders at the G20 Summit. China has laid out three economic expectations for the summit.

“First, China hopes that the member states of G20 will continue to enhance trade and investment cooperation to explore new drivers of economic growth. Second, we expect to continue enhancing cooperation in the development field to boost inclusive and sustainable development. Third, we expect the G20 Summit will continue to send clear signals for support of multilateral trade mechanisms to jointly build an open global economy,” China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said.

That global approach to trade may put China in conflict with Trump and his “America First” protectionist economic views.