President Trump’s Dealings On Chinese Tech Companies Aimed At Smooth Resolution of Trade War Implies Former Official

Jun 17, 2020
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The trade war between the United States and China and the hard-hitting rhetoric employed by the Trump administration against the East Asian country have both been one of the hallmarks of the current presidency. Mr. Trump, known to speak his mind frankly on all platforms has in the past placed tariffs on China in a stance that he has advocated as being adequate towards the East Asian country viewed unfavorably by politicians towing the conservative line in the United States.

To that end, Mr. John Bolton who served as a national security adviser within the Trump administration has revealed interesting details about the current American president's negotiations with China in an upcoming book titled “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir”. An excerpt from this book published by The Wall Street Journal today sheds a different light on Mr. Trump's dealings with China, and buried in the pages are details of what Mr. Bolton believes was POTUS' frame of mind and intentions when dealing with Chinese Premier Mr. Xi Jinping about the American sanctions on ZTE Telecommunications and the prosecution of Huawei Technologies.

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In the excerpt, Mr. Bolton reveals several details about Mr. Trump's interaction with the Chinese Premier Xi Xinping, and the former national security adviser describes the details of the president's actions in depth. The center of discussion of today's reveal is about the trade war between the United States and China, and Mr. Bolton suggests that Mr. Trump's actions while negotiating with his Chinese counterpart were not based solely on protecting American national interest.

Instead, the former adviser alleges that the president was motivated by his re-election prospects while pursuing the trade deal with China. The deal's phase one was agreed upon by the two countries earlier this year and it ranged from areas covering intellectual property law and agricultural products.

The discussions between the two leaders that covered the trade war covered American politics and their beliefs about the presidential election process – during which Mr. Xi expressed dissatisfaction about the frequency of the elections (he believed them to be too high) and Mr. Trump expressed his opinions about the Chinese premier's leadership qualities (which, according to him were the best in China's history).

Huawei's chief financial officer Ms. Meng Wanzhou has been at the center of the tensions between the United States and China for allegedly conducting business with Iran.

Mr. Bolton alleges that Mr. Trump, who was motivated by re-election prospects while dealing with China made decisions and efforts at making "personal gestures" to the Chinese premier in order to solicit the latter's help in a trade deal which the president believed would be beneficial during his re-election campaign.

In the former advisor's own words when speaking about the threat to U.S. national security posed by Huawei and ZTE:

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Trump, by contrast, saw this not as a policy issue to be resolved but as an opportunity to make personal gestures to Xi. In 2018, for example, he reversed penalties that Ross and the Commerce Department had imposed on ZTE. In 2019, he offered to reverse criminal prosecution against Huawei if it would help in the trade deal—which, of course, was primarily about getting Trump re-elected in 2020.

Naturally what the statements above insinuate is that the president changed penalties imposed on ZTE to appease his Chinese counterpart to agree on a trade deal that he believed would be beneficial towards re-election. Mr. Bolton's second allegation is even more damming as it directly links Mr. Trump's offer of stopping prosecution against Huawei if it would smooth the road for the trade deal between the United States and China.

The claims are sensational in nature and they have surfaced at a time when the U.S. is set to head into a presidential election (or re-election) at one the toughest times in its history – with the nation being wary of fighting the coronavirus outbreak and dealing with civil unrest at the same time. Heading into the election, several prominent Republican leaders have started to distance themselves from Mr. Trump, but right now it is difficult to speculate on his prospects of earning a second term in the White House.

Finally, while the allegations made by the former adviser are indeed extraordinary, it's unwise to reach any conclusions by taking stock of one side of a situation. Given President Trump's flair for social media, we might get his viewpoint on the matter soon.

Mr. Bolton's book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” will be available for purchase in a week's time from now on June 26th, 2020.

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