The two largest economies in the world have tried to find common ground on trade and business policy disputes, but several rounds of negotiations in recent months have not produced any breakthroughs. Over the weekend, Beijing reportedly cancelled mid-level trade talks with Washington and called off a proposed visit to the U.S. by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
It’s not clear when both sides will meet again, but a senior White House official said last week the U.S. is optimistic about finding “a positive way forward.” But it’s difficult to hold negotiations with the U.S. putting a “knife to China’s neck,” China’s Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said at a Tuesday news conference.
A solution can only be reached if both sides are on equal footing and show sincerity, Wang added, reiterating the white paper’s content that called for “mutual respect” and “win-win cooperation” between China and the U.S.
“Win-win” is a frequent refrain from Chinese officials on any geopolitical issue, but many outside experts have expressed concern that the term may be meaningless rhetoric in some cases.
And while China proclaimed through its state-run media on Monday that “no one can take us down,” it demanded that the U.S. treat it with respect.