US official: Xi Jinping is stalling US-China trade talks, likely to replace top negotiator

Trump's advisor says that chief negotiator Liu He has expressed a desire to negotiate and reform trade policies, but Xi Jinping is 'holding up the game'

Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (Image from Trump's Twitter account)

Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (Image from Trump's Twitter account)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – According to recent US media reports, the Trump administration is very dissatisfied with the on-going negotiations with China, with the Director of the National Economic Council stating that Xi Jinping himself is “holding up the game.”

Currently the primary negotiator on the Chinese side is Liu He (劉鶴), the Vice Premier of the State Council, however there are now reports that Xi Jinping and the CCP may be seeking to remove him from the role of lead negotiator, after he reportedly sought to contravene Xi’s position on reforming China’s trade policies related to technology transfers.

The remarks were made by Larry Kudlow speaking in an interview with CNBC. Kudlow said of the current negotiations that Liu He is reform minded, but Xi Jinping’s inflexibility has stalled trade talks.

Kudlow in the interview with CNBC said:

"I do not think President Xi has any intention of following through on any of the discussions we've made and I think the President is so dissatisfied with China on these so-called talks that he is keeping the pressure on and I support that."

Speaking on the rocky negotiations, Kudlow insisted that the U.S. administration was waiting on a move from Xi, saying that “the ball is in his court.”

In other reports, the Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, Michael Pilsbury has suggested the Liu He is likely to soon be replaced as chief negotiator since his attitudes are reportedly not in line with Xi Jinping’s.

Pilsbury observed that in the current phase of trade talks it seems like concessions from China are very unlikely. However, Trump’s dissatisfaction with the Chinese delegation is also likely to result in more extreme tariff measures moving forward, which analysts predict will become exponentially more damaging for China the longer they resist concessions and trade policy reforms.

Pilsbury put forth the name of Ren Xuefeng (任學鋒) as a likely replacement for Liu He, reports VOA. Ren is the Communist Party Secretary of Guangzhou as well as the Deputy Communist Party Secretary of Guangdong.