Stories by Deborah Lehr

Expert Voices

Trump's gains for U.S. businesses in China

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrive for a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People on November 9, 2017, in Beijing. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

President Trump's trip to China exemplifies what I call his "head of state" diplomacy: prioritizing personal relationships with his foreign counterparts.

Trump's style has been criticized, but it is starting to yield real results for U.S. business interests. The administration's announcement of $253 billion in trade deals marks a new record for a China trip and will make a significant dent in the trade deficit, which is running at $273 billion for the first nine months of 2017.

Expert Voices

Potential next act for trusted Xi adviser

Wang Qishan at a press event at Beijing's Great Hall of the People in 2012. Photo: Vincent Yu / AP

At last month's party congress, President Xi Jinping announced his new Politburo standing committee — China's seven most powerful men. Now attention has turned to the government appointments coming at the National People's Congress in March.

Many were surprised to hear that Wang Qishan, head of the anti-corruption campaign and a trusted adviser to Xi, would retire from the standing committee. The campaign remains a priority for Xi going into his second term, so there was a chance that Wang would continue at its helm.

Yet it appears that Wang will not go gentle into that good night. Rumor has it that he will be announced as China's next vice president — a clever move by President Xi if true. Wang had hit the informal retirement age on the standing committee, but the vice presidency has no upper age limit, nor a requirement that the officeholder be a standing committee member. Its incumbent, Li Yuanchao, was once a rising star but has lately been sidelined.

Why it matters: It's believed that Wang could become an international special envoy — a role that might include U.S.–China relations — while still influencing domestic financial and economic policy, extending his time as one of China's most powerful and feared leaders.

Expert Voices

What's next for Xi's China

President Xi Jinping, center, presides over the opening ceremony of the 19th Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo / Ng Han Guan

President Xi Jinping used the Communist Party's 19th Congress in Beijing to call for an invigorated economy at home and a stronger role for the party — of which he will now be "chairman," a title last held by Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China.

Why it matters: President Xi and his soon-to-be-announced dream team of officials will be ushering in not only a new era of ambitions for China but also a new phase in U.S.–China relations, as power shifts East.