In this file:


·         U.S.-China Talks Resume, With Chinese Officials Set to Visit U.S. Farm Belt

·         Xi Jinping and the pork crisis

·         US unlikely to soften stance on China even with more moderate Robert O’Brien as national security adviser, analysts say




U.S.-China Talks Resume, With Chinese Officials Set to Visit U.S. Farm Belt


o   First in-person talks in two months will continue Friday

o   U.S. says China delegation to visit U.S. farmlands next week


By Sarah McGregor and Jenny Leonard, Bloomberg

September 19, 2019


Trade negotiators from the U.S. and China resumed face-to-face talks in Washington, as the Trump administration said a Chinese delegation will visit American farmlands next week.


Talks between a Chinese delegation led by Liao Min, a vice minister for finance, and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish began Thursday and are scheduled to continue Friday. The negotiations are expected to lay the ground-work for top-level negotiations between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice Premier Liu He in October in Washington. An exact date for that meeting hasn’t been released.


Stock futures edged higher in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, while the S&P 500 Index closed little changed, within 1% of a record.


The burst of diplomacy follows two months of ratcheting up of the trade war after senior officials last met in Shanghai in late July. Frustrated by the lack of progress after that meeting, President Donald Trump announced an increase in planned tariffs on an additional batch of $300 billion of Chinese goods to 15% from 10%, which he began imposing on Sept. 1. Tariffs on some goods was delayed to Dec. 15.


Trump later announced a two-week delay on increasing existing tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods to 30% from 25%, which is now set for Oct. 15.


China has targeted U.S. exports including agriculture products with retaliatory tariffs, hitting farmers who are also dealing with unpredictable weather and low commodity prices.


U.S. Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday that Chinese officials will visit American farms next week as part of efforts to “build goodwill.”


Perdue added that he didn’t have any further details about the trip, and that he doesn’t know if Beijing plans to make an announcement about additional purchases of U.S. farm goods during the visit.


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday reiterated the Trump administration is pressing for a deal that commits Beijing to a wide range of deep economic reforms...





Xi Jinping and the pork crisis


In the Year of the Pig, the price of pork grew by 46.7% until August. Fears for the economy and inflation. Many people point to Xi Jinping as the person responsible for this crisis: to counter the US, he opened to meat imports from Russia, known to be the most affected by swine fever. In a year at least 200 million animals were killed or died from illness. Sale of meat from strategic reserves.


by Wang Zhicheng,



Beijing (AsiaNews) - According to some observers, the biggest concern of President Xi Jinping is not the war on duties with the US, nor the Hong Kong demonstrations, but the increasingly high price of pork.


In 2019 - precisely in the Year of the Pig - the price of pork has grown by 46.7% until August, causing a three-point increase in the consumer price index, with a relative influence on inflation. The pig-related industry contributes 128 billion US dollars to the national economy and constitutes 60% of the Chinese meat diet.


For over a year in the country there has been an epidemic of African swine fever. Started with an infection of cattle on a farm near the Russian border, it has now spread to all 31 provinces of China, decreeing death by disease or extermination of over 200 million pigs, almost half of the animals bred in Country.


Many people point to Xi Jinping as responsible for this crisis. To avoid all dialogue on the trade war with the US, the president has preferred to impose taxes on pork coming from the USA (second producer in the world, after China) and open to imports from Russia, known to be the most affected by swine fever.


To avoid heightened tensions over rising pork prices, yesterday the government decided to sell 10 thousand tons of frozen pork from its strategic reserves at auction.


China created a strategic pork reserve in 2007, but its extent is unknown.


The pig is a symbol of well-being: the ideogram of "home" is designed like a pig under a roof. Somehow, if pork is missing, you can't be happy. At the feast of October 1st, for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, the population will be able to witness one of the largest military parades, with ultra modern "made in China” weapons, but perhaps it will not have pork on the table.


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US unlikely to soften stance on China even with more moderate Robert O’Brien as national security adviser, analysts say


·         Robert O’Brien is less experienced that his predecessor so Donald Trump is expected to continue to drive foreign policy

·         But the new appointment has in the past warned against Beijing’s rapid rise and spoken in favour of Taiwan’s democracy


Laura Zhou, South China Morning Post (China) 

20 Sep, 2019


Washington’s tough policy stance on Beijing is unlikely to change following US President Donald Trump

’s naming of Robert O’Brien as his new national security adviser, observers say.


While the US State Department’s top hostage negotiator is a China hawk, O’Brien is considered less confrontational than his predecessor, John Bolton, who is widely reported to have disagreed with Trump on a range of policies, including Iran and North Korea.


Diplomatic observers in China said O’Brien’s selection suggested that Trump would remain the core decision-maker within his administration.


“O’Brien is much less experienced on foreign policy and national security compared with his predecessors like HR McMaster and Bolton, and much more low profile,” said Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre on American Studies at Renmin University of China.


“So he could take care of specific issues, but it would be hard for him to offer advice on issues related to national security and diplomatic strategies. But perhaps that what Trump needs.”


Trump was full of confidence in his selection when he announced the appointment.


“I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!” the president posted on Twitter, soon after publishing a tweet saying the US would “substantially” increase sanctions on Iran in response to an attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. Iran denies involvement in the attack.


Speaking from the tarmac of an airport in Los Angeles, Trump said he had been impressed with O’Brien’s work in securing the release of American citizens detained and imprisoned overseas.


Standing beside the president, O’Brien said: “We’ve got a number of challenges but there’s a great team in place.


“I look forward to working with them and the president to keep America safe and continue to rebuild our military, and really get us back to a peace-through-strength posture that will keep the American people safe from the many challenges around the world today.”


Shi said that as the new national security adviser – Trump’s fourth in less than three years — O’Brien would be unlikely to make any major changes to the relationship between China and the US, which has slumped to its lowest point in decades because of the trade war and the two nations’ growing rivalry on geopolitical and ideological fronts.


“Traditionally, it is the president, vice-president or the defence secretary who is in charge of formulating US security policy regarding China,” he said.


Working as a lawyer in Los Angeles, O’Brien has played only a low-key role within Washington’s policymaking circles. In 2005, under President George W. Bush, he was US representative to the United Nations General Assembly, and from 2007 to 2012 under President Barack Obama was involved in judicial reform in Afghanistan.


He is believed to support a conservative foreign policy and favours a tough stance on China, Russia and Iran. He was critical of Obama’s foreign policies, which he said were too weak.


In his 2016 book, While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis, he warned against China’s “rapid and impressive effort to establish itself as the supreme maritime power in the eastern Pacific and Indian Oceans”.


Despite those claims, Lu Xiang, an expert on US affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing was keen not to make its already tense relationship with the US any worse.


“So far the focus of Sino-US relations has been trade,” he said...