Feb 1, 2019

China pushes for Trump-Xi meeting to resolve trade war

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The U.S.-China trade talks this week were constructive, though as expected there were no big breakthroughs, sources tell me.

What's next: Soon after the Lunar Year holiday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a delegation to China to continue the discussions. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely to meet later this month when Trump is expected to travel to Asia for the second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In a meeting in the Oval office, Vice Premier Liu He delivered an artful letter from Xi that Trump called "beautiful." Among the highlights of Xi's letter, per the White House transcript:

"As I often say, I feel we have known each other for a long time, ever since we first met.  I cherish the good working relations and personal friendship with you.  I enjoy our meetings and phone calls in which we could talk about anything.  It falls to us to work together and accomplish things meaningful for the people of our two countries and the world at large."

My thought bubble: Of course the Chinese want another Trump-Xi meeting. They know they can not trust any agreement that is not made directly with the U.S. president, and they believe that if they can get a face-to-face meeting with Trump, they will probably end up with a more favorable deal for China.

  • As I wrote in last week's newsletter, this will continue to be a grind, but I still believe Xi is very motivated to make a deal as the trade war is one more risk he does not want right now.
  • More importantly, I hear he is very concerned about the push from some U.S. officials towards "decoupling" and so views a deal as a way to blunt those forces even as the U.S.-China competition heats up across multiple dimensions.

The big question: When they meet, will Xi make a last-minute request to release Meng Wanzhou and settle the Huawei indictments with a fine? It worked for Xi in the ZTE debacle.

Go deeper:

  • Read the White House's statement regarding the China talks.
  • Check out the official Xinhua readout on those same talks.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 5,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 5,100 people in the United States, as more state governors issued stay-at-home orders Wednesday to curb the spread. Over 216,000 people are now infected and more than 8,500 others have recovered.

The state of play: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 29 mins ago - Health

Trump admin won't reopen ACA enrollment for uninsured amid outbreak

President Trump speaks while flanked by Vice President Mike Pence during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration has decided not to reopen enrollment to uninsured Americans for the Affordable Care Act's Healthcare.gov marketplaces, an official confirmed to Axios Wednesday.

Driving the news: President Trump said last week he was considering the move in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, notes Politico, which first reported the news.

Go deeperArrow42 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 937,091 — Total deaths: 47,231 — Total recoveries: 193,764Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 ET: 216,515, — Total deaths: 5,119 — Total recoveries: 8,593Map.
  3. Business updates: Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World updates: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. 1 future thing: Shifts to telemedicine, at-home diagnostics, and drone delivery are all likely lasting consequences from this pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.