With tensions soaring between Beijing and Washington, United States President Donald Trump on May 11 reportedly said that he opposes renegotiation of the US-China ‘Phase 1’ deal. Trump’s statement came after a Chinese state-run newspaper reported that some government officials in Beijing were urging fresh talks and possibly invalidating the agreement. However, Trump said that he wanted to see if Beijing lived up to the deal to massively increase purchases of US goods.
When asked if he would entertain the idea of reworking ‘Phase 1’ deal, Trump reportedly said that he is ‘not interested’. While addressing the White House press briefing the US President said, “We signed a deal. I had heard that too, they’d like to reopen the trade talk, to make it a better deal for them”. However, despite the increasing tensions between the two countries, Trump refused to renegotiate the deal.
According to an international media outlet, some advisers, who are close to the talks, suggested that Chinese officials revive the possibility of invalidating the trade pact and negotiate a new one to tilt the scales more to the Chinese side. Meanwhile, with rising US-China tensions over the coronavirus pandemic, the trade deal and proposed talks on a ‘Phase 2’ deal are also into doubt.
However, soon after the reported talks of renegotiation from Beijing counterpart, Chinese importers on May 11 also bought at least four cargoes of US soybeans for shipment beginning in July. According to an international media outlet, additional sales are also possible. On the other hand, the US officials reportedly said that they have also begun implementing other parts of the trade deal regarding intellectual property protections.
Meanwhile, Trump and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo have repeatedly claimed that there is evidence that the pathogen came from the Wuhan lab. Leaders have also speculated that the deadly coronavirus was human-made and started from contact with infected animals or from an ‘accident’ at the Wuhan lab in China. However, China has strongly denied the allegations. Even the World Health Organisation reportedly said that Washington had offered no evidence to support the ‘speculative’ claims.
China’s ambassador, Cui Tankai also reportedly called for an end to the ‘blame game’. In the Washington Post column, Cui Tankai warned that accusing China over the virus outbreak could lead to the “decoupling” of the world’s two largest economies. He further even emphasised that it is the time to focus on the disease and rebuild trust between the two countries.