President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1. Trump called the two leaders’ relationship “very special.” (The Washington Post)
President Trump on Monday repeatedly lauded his weekend meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, suggesting their dinner in Argentina would not only produce better trade relations and help U.S. farmers but could also help curtail an arms race with Russia, potentially saving billions in military spending.
In morning tweets, Trump touted his “very strong and personal relationship” with Xi, asserting that they are “the only two people that can bring about massive and very positive change, on trade and far beyond.”
The president’s effusive tweets came amid differing accounts by the two nations on the specifics of what was billed as a trade war cease-fire and confusion over a late-night tweet Sunday by Trump asserting China would drop tariffs on imports of American-made cars.
As of Monday morning, it remained unclear what if anything China had agreed to in that regard.
Related: [After Trump summit, no mention in China of 90-day deadline or trade concessions]
President Trump stops to talk with members of the media as he walks to Marine One to depart from the South Lawn of the White House last week. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
In a television interview, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged many details still need to be worked out in coming weeks. “I’m very hopeful we can turn this into a real agreement,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Trump offered lavish praise for the “extraordinary meeting,” at which he agreed to cancel a planned Jan. 1 tariff increase in return for increased Chinese purchases of American farm and industrial goods.
The two sides also agreed to commence talks about “structural changes” in Chinese practices, including forced technology transfer, trade secrets theft and nontariff barriers, according to U.S. officials.
“Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward!” Trump said in one of his tweets. “Very good things will happen. We are dealing from great strength, but China likewise has much to gain if and when a deal is completed. Level the field!”
Trump also said his relationship with Xi was helpful in coming to a “solution for North Korea” — the United States is pressuring the rogue nation to denuclearize — and could eventually lead to lower military spending by the United States.
Trump has repeated touted higher military spending during his tenure as president.
“I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race,” Trump said in another of his tweets. “The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!”
Amid a busy morning on Twitter, Trump also renewed a threat to shut down the entire U.S.-Mexico border if Congress does not meet his request for funding of his long-promised border wall in an upcoming sending bill.
“We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall,” Trump asserted. “Either way, people will NOT be allowed into our Country illegally! We will close the entire Southern Border if necessary. Also, STOP THE DRUGS!”