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China mobilises diplomats to drum up global support ahead of G20

来源:South China Morning Post 日期:2019-06-12

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China’s ambassador to Indonesia has joined the chorus of Beijing’s diplomats to G20 nations trying to drum up support against US unilateralism ahead of the group’s Osaka meeting at the end of this month.

In an article published in theBisnis Indonesia newspaper on Monday, ambassador Xiao Qian called on Southeast Asian countries to support the “global trade order”.

“The US abuse of tariff measures, and use of maximum pressure, are inconsistent with the principles of market competition and basic business ethics,” Xiao said.

“It not only harms the interests of Chinese and American companies and consumers, but also jeopardises the security of global industrial, value and supply chains, and seriously undermines the international trade order, and increases uncertainty in the region and for world economic growth, including for Indonesia.”

Since the breakdown of trade talks and subsequent imposition of new tariffs in May, Beijing has launched harsh criticism of the United States via its ambassadors to G20 countries, including Britain and France, in a bid to avoid isolation by US allies in Osaka from June 28-29.

Writing for London’s Evening Standard newspaper in May, Beijing’s envoy in London, Liu Xiaoming, implied that the US was the “real troublemaker” in the global economy for raising tariffs and instigating a trade war.

“It is important that the international community stands firm and stands together at this darkest hour of protectionism so as to avert a looming ‘trade war’ and embrace the dawn of [the] world economy and trade,” Liu said.

In Paris, ambassador Zhai Jun penned an article for Les Echos entitled “Protecting Multilateralism Requires Courage and Resolution”, chiding unnamed parties for “reversing history” through “unilateral bullying and maximum pressure”.

Zhai also wrote of the importance of the G20 mechanism in protecting multilateralism in the decade after the 2008 financial crisis.

Indonesia will be one of the countries meeting to discuss the future of global trade in Osaka, where Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are also expected to meet.

Trump told CNBC on Monday that he believed China would make a deal with the US “because they’re going to have to”.

He said he would place tariffs on the remaining US$300 billion of currently untaxed Chinese imports should Beijing turn down the face-to-face conference.

“I would be surprised if [Xi] didn’t go,” Trump said. “I think he is going, I haven’t heard that he’s not. We are expected to meet. If we do, that’s fine and if we don’t, that’s fine. Look, from our standpoint, the best deal we can have is 25 per cent [tariffs] on US$600 billion.”

The US-China trade war has had a mixed effect on Indonesia, accelerating the flow of China-based manufacturing to the country. In January, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said the country could benefit from investment relocating from China to Southeast Asian countries.

But Indonesia also fears the Trump administration might target the country with its own set of tariffs, due to its large trade surplus with the United States. In 2017, the Trump administration included Indonesia on a list of 16 countries to investigate for its trade imbalance with the US.

In his article, Xiao urged Indonesia and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to stand against US trade policy.

“China hopes to work with Indonesia, Asean, and other countries of the world to deepen mutual beneficial cooperation, to firmly support globalisation through practical actions, defend the multilateral trading system and rules, and together build a high-level, open world economy,” he wrote.

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