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WORLD

By Zhang Yu and Liu Jiefei / Mar 21, 2019 05:00 PM / World

An American delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will visit Beijing on March 28-29 for trade negotiations, China's Ministry of Commerce announced Thursday.

China’s Vice Premier Liu He will head to Washington in early April for another round of the trade talks, Gao Feng, the ministry’s spokesperson, said at a regular briefing.

U.S. President Donald Trump delayed raising punitive tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, after important progress was made in negotiations late last month in Washington.

However, the two sides are at loggerheads over an enforcement mechanism the U.S. is trying to impose on China to ensure Beijing live up to its promises. Trump has also said he will not remove tariffs on China until the country proves its compliances with any trade agreement.

Read all of Caixin's coverage of the U.S.-China trade war

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WORLD

By Cheng Siwei / Mar 20, 2019 05:06 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A high-level annual economic forum bringing together China’s top officials and world business leaders is scheduled to start this weekend and will focus on further opening up the country’s economy.

The China Development Forum (CDF) 2019 will last for three days at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. The gathering is being hosted by the Development Research Centre (DRC), a ministerial-level body of the State Council, the country’s cabinet.

The theme this year is “Greater Opening-up for Win-Win Cooperation.” Observers are closely watching how China will deal with other countries and participate in global governance, at a time when competition between world powers is intensifying, nationalism and protectionism are on the rise, and uncertainties in geopolitics and global economic growth are increasing, Long Guoqiang, a vice minister of the DRC, said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Premier Li Keqiang will meet with some of the event’s foreign attendants and Han Zheng, a vice premier, will give a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. Senior officials at powerful government agencies — including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce and the People’s Bank of China — will speak at some of the sessions and answer questions from the audience. Other high-level officials joining discussions include Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

A total of 96 chairpersons or CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have confirmed their attendance, including Apple chief Tim Cook and Stephen Schwarzman, head of American investment firm Blackstone.

Related: Read Caixin's series on The World Bank’s Role in the Transformation of China’s State Sector: Part One, Part Two, Part Three

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By Liu Yanfei and Tang Ziyi / Mar 13, 2019 04:27 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department announced today a ban on all Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the city's airspace, effective 6 p.m.

The department said Indian budget carrier Spicejet and Russia’s Globus Airlines were among the airlines that had agreed to switch to a different model of aircraft to keep operating routes passing through Hong Kong airspace.

A Boeing 737 Max 8, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed on Sunday, killing more than 150 people on board. The accident was the second in five months involving a Max 8, after another plane operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed in October, killing 189.

Related: China Has No Timetable to Resume Flights of Boeing 737 Max 8

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Zhao Runhua and Huang Kaixi / Mar 08, 2019 12:17 PM / World

The “Power of Siberia” is coming – and soon.

Russia's eastern-route natural gas pipeline to China will begin operation in 2019, Wang Yi, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at Friday press conference.

The route makes up the eastern portion of Russia’s “Power of Siberia” pipeline, which runs from eastern Siberia to northeastern China.

The project is in line with Beijing’s plans to reduce China’s reliance on pollution-making coal. In 2018, the country’s natural gas consumption rose by 16.6% to 276.6 billion cubic meters (9.8 trillion cubic feet). As domestic production finds it hard to keep up with growing demand, imported gas is helping to make up for a considerable portion of China’s clean-energy needs.

Related: Boss of China Energy Planner Touts Nation’s Declining Coal Reliance

 


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By Qin Ziyi, Zhao Runhua / Mar 04, 2019 05:56 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Argentina’s coast guard fired warning shots after a Chinese fishing vessel refused to cooperate with authorities on Saturday.

The coast guard opened fire after the vessel, Hua Xiang 801, was caught illegally fishing in Argentina’s exclusive economic zone, and verbal demands failed.

After three hours of pursuit and shooting, the Chinese ship still refused to cooperate – and even tried to collide with coast guard boats on several occasions. Hua Xiang 801 eventually escaped to international waters, where Argentina has no sovereign rights.

Hua Xiang 801 is likely belongs to fishery registered in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, according to Caixin’s research – a vessel named Hua Xiang 801 owned by the same company was sent to Peru for fishing last year, a government document showed.

This is not the first instance of illegal activity by Chinese fishing vessels in restricted territorial waters. In 2018, Argentina’s coast guard found Chinese vessel Jing Yuan 626 illegally fishing in its exclusive economic zone off the Patagonian coast. Before the vessel fled, the coast guard chased and fired at it for roughly eight hours.

Argentina’s coast guard said it has appealed for an international capture order to apprehend Hua Xiang 801.

Related: China Struggles to Reel In Its Illegal Fishing Abroad

 

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By Olivia M. Ryan / Feb 28, 2019 04:58 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Donald Trump claims dealmaking is an art, but it seems he was out of ink this week in Vietnam.

The summit between the U.S. president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “productive,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday, despite the unexpected cancellation of a planned lunch and signing ceremony originally listed on the White House schedule.

Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that they chose to “walk away” after Kim requested sanctions be lifted “in their entirety” but wasn’t prepared to “give us the areas we wanted.” But Pompeo stressed that the two sides made progress towards an agreement during the two-day summit and “felt good about the progress, but couldn’t quite get along the line any further. I hope to do so in the weeks ahead,” he said.

Trump and Kim were set to meet twice in Hanoi — a dinner and a bilateral meeting on Wednesday and a planned one-on-one and lunch on Thursday. The lunch was canceled after the Americans reportedly “walked away,” with both leaders departing the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi earlier than scheduled.

At the hastily arranged press conference held two hours earlier than originally planned, Trump described the walk-away as a “friendly” one, and told reporters that the relationship remains “strong” and “warm.” He said that Kim has done well at upholding his agreement to halt missile and nuclear tests.

During the press conference, North Korean state media reported that a delegation from the North Korean foreign ministry was on its way to visit China. China’s Foreign Ministry said at a press conference on Thursday that it hopes dialogue and communication between the United States and North Korea can continue.

Related: K-Pop Shows May Return to China in Sign of Easing Korea Tensions

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By Zhao Runhua / Feb 28, 2019 11:42 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Some things come full circle. Such as this Sichuan Airlines flight.

A flight that departed China’s Sichuan province heading for Dubai returned after six hours in the air due to concerns of “military activity,” Caixin has learned.

The incident happened soon after India and Pakistan said they shot down each other’s fighter jets above their disputed border area.

Sichuan Airlines’s flight 3U603 departed from Chengdu at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, and remained in a holding pattern above Sichuan before arriving back at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 8:56 p.m.

Sichuan Airlines told Caixin the action was taken due to "military activity” alerts, though staff from the company didn’t say the incident was directly connected to the recent conflict between Pakistan and India, which includes airspace close to the flight’s route.

Related: China, Pakistan Hold ‘Emergency Call’ Over India Skirmish

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By Zhao Runhua / Feb 28, 2019 10:09 AM / World

Commandos stand guard at Delhi international airport. Photo: VCG

Commandos stand guard at Delhi international airport. Photo: VCG

The foreign ministers of China and Pakistan held an “emergency call” Wednesday night to discuss a recent escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Federal Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi that he hoped China could play a “constructive” role in reducing the tension, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said

Wang stressed that countries involved in the situation must respect each other’s “territorial integrity” and refrain from violating international law, according to the Ministry.

The conflict intensified Wednesday as Pakistan claimed it shot down two Indian fighter planes over Kashmir, a disputed border area. Pakistan reportedly captured an Indian pilot.

India responded by reportedly shooting down a Pakistani fighter jet, and has demanded the return of its captured pilot.

Related: Pakistan PM Calls Chinese Consulate Attack ‘Reaction’ to Trade Agreements

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By Tanner Brown / Feb 26, 2019 10:05 AM / World

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Vietnam for his upcoming two-day summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, several media outlets reported Tuesday.

Their meeting is expected to focus on North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for U.S. economic and security concessions.

Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping have likewise met four times since 2018, to discuss a range of issues, including Korean-U.S. relations and denuclearization.

Related: President Xi Supports Another Kim, Trump Meeting

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By Timmy Shen / Feb 25, 2019 03:46 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China has taken a step forward in the country’s efforts to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The country completed its fourth round of mutual evaluations with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental standards-setter on money laundering and other economic crimes on Thursday.

The plenary of the FATF concluded that “China has the foundation for a sound system to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing, but should strengthen its financial intelligence unit and use of financial intelligence,” the organization said on its website.

The finding comes as a relief to China, whose most significant challenge during this round of evaluations was proving its money laundering controls were in line with global standards, a domestic regulator told Caixin.

China became a member of the Paris-based FATF in 2007 after completing two rounds of mutual evaluations and accepting a third. The country’s first money laundering law was enacted that same year. The FATF is expected to release its full report on the latest China evaluations in April.

The FATF conducts peer reviews of each of its members on an ongoing basis to assess their implementation of its recommendations to prevent criminal abuses in their financial systems.

The country’s banking regulator last week issued stricter rules targeting banks’ money laundering and counter-terrorist financing practices, outlining requirements for banks to conduct stricter background checks of shareholders and executives, as well as track capital sources.

Related: China Imposes Stricter Anti-Money Laundering Rules

 

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By Teng Jing Xuan / Feb 22, 2019 03:19 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The Canadian province of New Brunswick is terminating education programs run by the Chinese government-funded Confucius Institute.

New Brunswick education minister Dominic Cardy said the decision was based on concerns that teachers aren’t giving a balanced view of certain topics related to China, CBC News reported. Schools in the province have been offering Confucius Institute programs aimed at teaching Chinese culture and language since 2008.

“My concern is we have an institute whose job it is to put a very one-dimensional perspective of China into our schools,” Cardy said.

Confucius Institute, an organization affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education that runs events and courses around the world promoting Chinese culture, has faced increasing scrutiny outside of China, with detractors criticizing it as a tool of the Chinese government.

Last year, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Michael Wray said the agency had “concerns about the Confucius Institutes” and was “watching warily.”


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By Teng Jing Xuan / Feb 22, 2019 12:21 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A few Spanish companies have found themselves in hot water in recent days after offending Chinese customers.

First, hundreds of Chinese citizens living in Spain took to the streets of Madrid late last week to protest against BBVA, Spain’s second largest bank. The protestors said their bank accounts had been unfairly frozen, and accused the bank of using a new anti-money-laundering policy to discriminate against Chinese customers.

BBVA later apologized and unfroze some of the affected accounts.

But the discussion hasn’t died down on Chinese media, with multiple outlets reporting today that another Spanish bank, Bankia, has frozen a large number of Chinese users’ accounts.

Meanwhile, the appearance of Chinese model Li Jingwen’s freckled face in Spanish fashion brand Zara’s latest campaign has sparked a backlash on Chinese social media.

Some people weren’t happy that Zara showed off Li’s freckles, a feature considered undesirable in China, and thought the image was making Chinese women look bad. Some claimed so few Asian women had freckles that Zara must’ve tried very hard to find someone with such a “western” feature.

Others praised the brand for celebrating Li’s natural beauty.

Relevant: JD.com Launches Spanish E-Commerce Platform

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By Tanner Brown / Feb 19, 2019 09:42 AM / World

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has accepted an official invitation to visit Washington this week, and will hold talks with the U.S. team led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, China’s Commerce Ministry confirmed today.

This will be Liu’s second trip to Washington in as little as three weeks. He met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the end of January.

Read all of Caixin's coverage of the U.S.-China war

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By Zhao Runhua / Feb 18, 2019 07:06 PM / World

Australia' Parliament House. Photo: VCG

Australia' Parliament House. Photo: VCG

China denied hacking the computer networks of Australia’s Parliament House, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a briefing on Monday.

Geng called media reports that China may be behind a recent hack of the nation's parliament and major political parties “irresponsible,” adding that, without sufficient evidence, they could exacerbate tensions in online spaces and create a "toxic" atmosphere.

Earlier this month, the Australian government said its parliament computer networks, including those of major political parties, encountered a “malicious intrusion.”

Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, did not single out China but only said the intrusion looked to have been carried out by a "sophisticated state actor."

He added there was "no evidence of any electoral interference."

Independent cybersecurity experts speaking with the media have said the state actors were most likely either China or Russia. But Australian government authorities have issued no statement as to who they believe is behind the hack.

Related: China Says Australian Held on National Security Grounds

 

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The Straits Times / Feb 18, 2019 12:57 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Negotiations for a pact between Asean nations and China aimed at easing tensions in the South China Sea are to begin later this month, said Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen early today at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Asean and China agreed at their summit in Singapore last November to the early conclusion of a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea.

"(Chinese) PM Li Keqiang, in Singapore in November last year, set a proposed timeline for the COC to be finished in three years," noted Dr Ng, speaking at the Maritime Security Roundtable at the Munich Security Conference and Nato Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters.

The code will set out norms of behavior in the contested waters.

China and several Asean members - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - have overlapping claims in the disputed waters.

Asean and China have been working to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties, the precursor to the COC, since 2002.

Negotiations on the COC began in March last year, following the adoption in 2017 of the framework for the COC.

"As ADMM/ADMM-Plus Chair last year, we developed the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters (Game), the first of its kind in the world," Dr Ng said today, referring to the Asean Defense Ministers' Meetings.

"As the Asean-China coordinator, we also facilitated the successful conduct of the Asean-China Maritime Exercise among Asean and Chinese navies in 2018," he said, according to the Ministry of Defense.

"All of these are practical confidence-building measures that minimise the risk of miscalculations, and build trust and confidence among militaries," he said at the round table titled "Bridging Troubled Waters - Deconflicting The South China Sea Dispute".

Noting that no one thinks any country would attempt to forcibly push the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) out of the features on which it has built military bases in the South China Sea, Dr Ng tried to put things in perspective.

"Do the PLA bases and infrastructure in the South China Sea make it an equivalent of the Indopacom (US Indo-Pacific Command) in Hawaii?" he said.

"The military facilities in Guam are approximately 12 times the size of China's expanded features in the South China Sea; and Hawaii, about 70 times; Iwo Jima, a key island in the Pacific Theatre where the US and Japan had fought over in World War II, is comparable - about 11/2 times."

Still, to ensure stability in the South China Sea, Asean has taken a practical approach, to work on the COC "to constrain if not bind behavior", said Dr Ng.

Related: Philippines’ Oil Agreement With China Sparks Fears of Losing South China Sea Claims

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By Ren Qiuyu / Feb 13, 2019 11:46 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

UPDATE: At a regular press briefing Wednesday, China's foreign ministry denied the Wall Street Journal report alleging that Chinese officials had met in Washington with figures from Venezuelan's opposition.

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Chinese diplomats have held debt negotiations in Washington in recent weeks with representatives of Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting anonymous sources.

The talks have centered around how China can protect its future oil projects in the South American country and the estimated $20 billion that it owes Beijing, the Journal reported. Venezuela is home to the world’s largest oil reserves. New U.S. sanctions have cut off one of the last major sources of income for the country, leaving Maduro increasingly desperate. After Maduro took power in 2013, oil production plummeted and the economy began to shrink.

The talks are a sign of growing apprehension that Maduro may not last, the Journal reported. China does not want to take a significant loss on its loans, and the two sides have been discussing grace periods on repayment plans in the case of a transitional government, sources told the Journal. If Guaido were to come to power, China could benefit from increased flows of Venezuelan oil if U.S. sanctions were lifted. Guaido would also likely seek large-scale reconstruction projects that will need countries with deep pockets to help — such as China.

On Feb. 1, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press conference that “China maintains close communication with all parties.” The China-Venezuela relationship, which flourished under socialist president Hugo Chavez in the 2000s, “should not be damaged,” Geng said.

Related: Venezuela’s Young Contender Eyes China Reset as Beijing Seeks Dialogue

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By Bloomberg / Feb 12, 2019 11:41 AM / World

A Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Photo: Bloomberg

A Boeing Co. 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Photo: Bloomberg

An Air New Zealand plane on its way to Shanghai was forced to return to Auckland after several hours in the air on Saturday because paperwork for the flight included a reference to Taiwan, Stuff reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The problem related to documentation from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority which was included as part of Air New Zealand’s application to allow the aircraft to land in China, the report said. Officials in Beijing had warned the airline to remove any references which suggested Taiwan was a state, however the issue was not resolved, according to the report.

During a press conference in Beijing Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying blamed the flight’s temporary deployment hiccup as the reason it was not authorized to land in China, citing news reports she read online.

Air New Zealand did not immediately respond to a Stuff’s request for comment.

Some airlines, including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Hawaiian Holdings Inc., Qantas Airways Ltd., Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG cooperated with China’s wishes on reference to Taiwan before last year’s deadline.

China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the nationalist Kuomintang government fled to Taiwan after the civil war defeat in the 1940s. China’s Communist Party regards the island as its territory to be taken by force if necessary.

Related: Foreign Airlines Comply With Beijing’s ‘Taiwan’ Website Demand

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By Tanner Brown / Feb 11, 2019 11:42 AM / World

Mar-a-Lago. Photo: VCG

Mar-a-Lago. Photo: VCG

Some U.S. officials are mulling the idea.

According to Axios, “two administration officials with direct knowledge of the internal discussions” have deliberated holding a summit at Trump’s Florida resort next month, in an attempt to end the trade impasse.

The meeting between the Chinese and U.S. presidents could happen as soon as mid-March, the report said, which would come after the March 1 deadline the U.S. has set to raise tariffs on China if the two countries are unable to reach a trade deal.

A third source told Axios that officials have “discussed other locations, including Beijing, and that it's premature to say where they'll meet or even whether a meeting is certain to happen.”

Read Caixin’s full coverage of the U.S.-China trade war

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By Tang Ziyi / Feb 07, 2019 05:12 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 4 made history when it became the first manmade vessel to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.

Now, its feat has been recorded for posterity — as tiny bright speck on a photograph by rival space program NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Chang’e 4, part of China’s ambitious plan to become a major space power by 2030, is composed of two parts: a lander, which powered the journey to the moon, and a rover, which detached from the lander after impact to explore the moon’s surface.

"Because LRO was 330 kilometers (205 miles) to the east of the landing site, the Chang'e 4 lander is only about two pixels across," said NASA members in a statement released on Thursday. In the photograph, the lander can be seen at its landing site in the Moon’s Von Kármán crater. Chang'e 4's rover is too small to be detectable.

Related: Five Things to Know About China’s Bid to Land on the Far Side of the Moon


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By Ke Dawei / Feb 01, 2019 06:54 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

U.S. President Donald Trump prides himself on being a dealmaker. But even the famously immodest former real estate mogul may not have believed his ears on Thursday, when Vice Premier Liu He seemed to say that China would buy 5 million metric tons of soybeans per day from American farmers, in what would be the ultimate Spring Festival gift.

Or at least this is what was said according to the White House’s official transcript of yesterday’s high-level trade talks in Washington. While China is the world’s biggest consumer of soybeans, importing 88 million of them last year, Chinese citizens would need to start eating a lot more tofu, and China’s pigs would need to eat a lot more soymeal feed, to get through the 1.825 billion tons of soybeans they would be importing from the U.S. yearly if that figure was accurate.

“That’s going to make our farmers very happy,” replied President Trump. “That’s a lot of soybeans. That’s really nice.”

Global Times editor Hu Xijin saw the funny side of the gaffe. “If China has to import 1.8 billion tons of soybeans from the US each year, it'll mean each Chinese person will get 1 ton, or 1,000 kg, they will be stuffed to death,” he commented. “Even the White House lawn will have to be converted to a soybean field, but it still won’t be enough.”

Except, of course, “per day” was likely “today.” The Wall Street Journal and the Global Times reported that White House officials had clarified that five million beans would be bought at an unspecified time, while China’s official Xinhua News Agency simply said that the two sides had agreed that China would import more agricultural products from the U.S. Bean counters at the customs bureau must have breathed a sigh of relief.

The negotiations were the highest-level meeting since Trump sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping Dec. 1 in Argentina and declared a 90-day truce to negotiate an end to the trade war.

Both sides were clear in their optimism over the talks, with both sides having agreed to a “time schedule and route map” for future trade talks, Xinhua reported without nominating specific dates.

Related: China, U.S. Wrap Up 2 Days of Talks With Positive Signs


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