- Trump is due in Beijing Wednesday when he will meet with leader Xi Jinping
- President has touted his close relationship with Xi, calling it 'outstanding'
- But he says that won't stop him from getting tough with China over trade
- North Korea is expected to dominate the agenda as it did when pair met in April
Published: 03:45 EST, 7 November 2017 | Updated: 03:45 EST, 7 November 2017
President Donald Trump says he's moving to take 'very, very strong action' against China and other countries that have been treating the United States 'unfairly' in the trade arena, regardless of the warm relationship he's established with Xi Jinping.
The U.S. president said Monday in Japan that he's fond of Xi, the newly-elevated communist party chair of China, and the foreign leader likes him. But he won't allow their mutual affection to cloud his judgement, Trump asserted.
'He represents China. I represent the United States,' Trump said at a news conference.
Donald Trump is due in Beijing on Wednesday where he will meet Chinese leader Xi Jingping on home soil for the first time (pictured at the G20 summit in Germany in July)
Trump has touted his relationship with Xi, calling it 'outstanding', but says he still intends to get tough with the Chinese leader over trade
This Wednesday Trump travels to Beijing, his third destination on a five-nation hustle across eastern Asia. As with every other stop on this trip, North Korea is expected to dominate Xi and Trump's discussions.
However, here more than anywhere else during the visit, Trump – a former titan of real estate – is under pressure to address the regional trade practices that he said as a candidate he would fix.
Trump pounded China for alleged currency manipulation in the presidential election last year that unexpectedly put him in power. He's said as recently as February that the Chinese were 'grand champions' at the economic trick.
By artificially devaluing its currency, the yuan, Beijing has been able to been able to lower the price of its exports, 'stealing' American jobs, Trump has said.
His assessment was rejected by the International Monetary Fund last year, and Trump's own administration has shied away from shackling China with the designation.
Since an April summit with Xi at Trump's Palm Beach golf club, the U.S. president has backed off the assault.
'The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding,' Trump said after less than a day of talks with the Chinese president and his representatives.
'We look forward to being together many times in the future. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away.'
Trump has not shied away from attacking China on Twitter, both before and after his first meeting with Xi at Mar-A-Lago back in April
Days later, Trump continued to gush about his weekend in Florida with Xi in what amounted to a total about-face of his previous criticisms.
'Now what am I going to do? Start a trade war with China while in the middle of him working on a bigger problem, frankly, with North Korea?' he said on Fox & Friends.
Trump said later that month that it wouldn't make sense to label Xi's country a currency manipulator after the Chinese leader offered to assist the U.S. in its efforts to constrain North Korea.
'Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!' Trump tweeted.
China's stepped up efforts to choke of Kim Jong-un's finances has not kept Trump from complaining about the gross trade deficit between the two countries, nor has it had an immediate effect on the United States' enforcement of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
Trump told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo late last month that the U.S. loses 'hundreds of billions a year' a year to China.
'We lose with almost every country, we have massive deficits. And that is gonna change, we can't allow the world to look at us as a whipping post. Not gonna happen, anymore,' the billionaire president insisted.
Monday, a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump told a reporter who asked how the U.S. plans to enforce its mandate of a 'free and open' Indo-Asia Pacific without riling up China, a major power on the continent, that he's realistic about his relationship with Xi.
'You will be seeing things of countries that have been treating the United States and the United States worker and companies…our country, and our workers very unfairly, you will be seeing that the United States will take very, very strong action,' Trump said.
The President is currently in Seoul where he has met with Moon Jae-in, the newly elected leader of South Korea, as he tours Asia
Trump visited Japan earlier this week and after stopping in Beijing he is due to visit Vietnam and the Philippines before heading back to the US
The legal work is mostly finished, he revealed. 'And you're going to see a very big difference, and it's going to happen very soon. Because the United States, by many countries, has been treated very, very unfairly when it comes to trade.'
Sandy Pho, an associate at the non-partisan Wilson Center, assessed last week, as Trump prepared to depart on his overseas trip, that the U.S. president was exiting the 'honeymoon stage' of his relationship with Xi.
Trump is starting to realize that China is not going to do what the U.S. wants China to do, she said, and that China does not have as much power to compel North Korea.
He is now 'slowly kind of coming down from this high, kind like a hangover' from the April Mar-a-Lago summit, Pho observed, and realizing 'he was wrong' about China's position.
'He's figuring out that Xi's going to do what he's going to do for China,' she said, much like Trump is putting America first.
The fading rapture is evident in the United States' rift with China in several areas, including intellectual property, Pho stated, pointing to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's investigation into China's alleged theft of intellectual property.
The administration believes that China is behind as much as $600 million in IP theft through forced technology transfers.
China's Commerce Ministry has called the probe 'irresponsible' and 'not objective.' Beijing would almost certainly bring additional U.S. action before the World Trade Organization.
But Trump could unilaterally impose tariffs on Beijing through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 if USTR determines that China is engaging in 'unfair trade practices' – a powerful weapon if he decides to use it.
Trump has been hesitant to act against Beijing so long as Xi goes along with his plans to suffocate North Korea's nuclear ambition.
Still, Pho says the U.S. president is 'fully starting to realize this' that the United States and China's goals in North Korea 'aren't necessarily aligned.'
'Xi's willing to deal with this despot on his doorstep, but obviously Trump isn't,' she asserted. 'But he's willing to deal with this for the time being because the other options, the US on it's doorsteps, or nuclear war on its doorsteps, are just far worse.'
At a briefing with reporters on Sunday evening in Tokyo, a senior White House official insisted that the economic and security concerns of the Trump administration are wholly separate issues.
'The United States isn't going to barter away our interests on the trade front in order to make gains doing what the entire world has, more or less, obligated itself to do, and that is to contain and confront the threat from North Korea,' the official asserted. 'So I don't see a comingling of those two issues.'
Derek Scissors, the foremost economist on U.S.-Asia economic relations the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said the two issues are inextricably linked.
'South Koreans are looking at an obvious missile threat from a deranged state on their border, they accept US missile help, which is not going to solve their problem but at least makes it a little better, and the Chinese go ballistic,' he said of the present situation.
Without a strong U.S. economic presence in East Asia, countries along the Pacific Rim are at the mercy of China, Scissors said.
'The only country they can turn to is us, and meanwhile we're talking about bilateral trade deficits,' he proclaimed. 'At the time they need the US to be more present, the US is pulling away.'
[contf] [contfnew] [hhm]Daily Mail[hhmc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc]
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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