International

G20 a chance for Beijing, Washington to ‘reset tone’

The 2019 G20 Osaka summit will be the fourteenth meeting of Group of Twenty (G20). It will be held on 28–29 June 2019 in Osaka. The G-20’s members represent two-thirds of the world’s people and 85 percent of its economy. Since 2007, the media has covered each G-20 summit. That recognizes the members’ role as significant drivers of the world economy.

Li Ruohan
AS CHINA called on joint efforts to promote free trade at the G20 Summit to be held later this month, observers noted that the summit, where leaders from China and the US are likely to meet, is also a chance to restart the stalled trade negotiations and save the global market from more uncertainties.
At the daily briefing on 10 June, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang neither confirmed nor denied a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the summit in Japan.
China will release information “in a timely manner,” Geng said. 
Chance for China and the US to reset the tone
The meeting, if it happens, could be a chance for China and the US to reset the tone of their relations that are enduring embarrassing and frustrating moments, said Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University.
One particular facet of China-US relations is that their leaders’ interactions have played a constructive and leading role in saving relations from deteriorating at critical moments, Li said.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the highly anticipated meeting between Xi and Trump “has some parallels” with their Buenos Aires summit in December that postponed a tariff hike, Reuters reported.
The summit in December 2018 marked the start of a five-month trade truce between the US and China to allow for negotiations to end their intensifying trade war. But those talks hit an impasse last month, prompting both sides to impose higher tariffs on each other’s goods.
Geng said that for negotiations to resume, the US should show more sincerity as the US should take full responsibility for the frustrated negotiations.
China has repeatedly stressed that it does not want to fight a trade war but it is not afraid of one, vowing to “never give in” on issues of principle and to use “necessary measures” to safeguard the interests of the country and its people.
Door is open
“If the US is willing to negotiate in an equal manner, our door is open, but if the US insists on escalating the trade frictions, we will respond resolutely and fight until the end,” Geng said at the routine briefing on 10 June.
Earlier, Mnuchin said at a news briefing that the meeting during G20 was where the “main progress” could be made toward reviving talks to end the US-China trade conflict.
“The US and Chinese presidents should go on a weekend retreat,” according to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman on June 4. “They and the rest of the world will regret the result if their reprisals over trade issues keep escalating,”  Friedman wrote.
Trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified” and raised risks to improving global growth, G20 finance leaders said in a communiqué released on 9 July  after their meeting in Japan.
Though the summit is still two weeks away, the US has not stopped its threats against China. Mnuchin said that Trump might ease US restrictions on Huawei if there was progress in the trade row with China – but absent a deal, Washington would maintain tariffs to cut its deficit, Reuters reported.
Mnuchin also said that Trump had no qualms about introducing more tariffs on Chinese imports if no progress is made on the stalled negotiations during his meeting with President Xi at the G20 meeting, South China Morning Post reported.
Every one hopes the meeting could help restart the negotiations, but the US has to show more sincerity, Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s International Market Research Institute, calling for more prudence for any result, told the Global Times on 10 June. 
The point is not about whether to have negotiations. It’s about negotiating on which principle and for whose benefit, said Bai.
He stressed that the US should not ask for too much, as a deal that violates China’s principles is pointless and won’t be agreed upon. 
Analysts noted that the repeated flip-flops by the US during trade negotiations are the largest obstacle for the two sides to reach a substantial outcome, and that the fundamental problems behind the trade war are not going to be solved easily in the short term.
However, though Trump seems tough in his rhetoric on trade issues, he is sure that his 2020 presidential election campaign won’t proceed smoothly if US farmers and workers – the core of his voters— continue to suffer from the trade war, Li said.
Consistent efforts
Meanwhile, experts noted that China’s diplomacy is not all about its relations with the US, and the country’s efforts to safeguard a free and open trade system, promote WTO reforms and oppose protectionism and “economic extremism” are consistent and will be further displayed at the G20 summit.
China is willing to work with all parties to advance reforms in the WTO so that the world organization can play a bigger role in global economic governance, the Ministry of Commerce said in May 2018.
In a WTO reform proposal submitted on May 13, China identified four aspects which deserve major action. Support for the WTO to make necessary reforms to help it solve the current crisis and respond to the needs of the times were also expressed, the Xinhua News Agency reported on May 14, citing insiders.
“Most cyber attacks from the US”
A Chinese report warned on 10 June that most cyber attacks against Chinese networks in 2018 came from the US, which Chinese experts predicted that the latter is preparing to wage a large-scale “cyber war” but China is prepared to launch a strong counterattack, : Sun Haoran and Zhao Yusha reported in the Global Times. 
The information came from an annual report released by China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT) on 10 June.
The CNCERT said that in 2018, 14,000 servers in the US infected by a Trojan virus or botnet controlled 3.34 million host computers in China; and the number of servers increased 90.8 percent year-on-year, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
3,607 Chinese websites infected
In 2018, 3,325 US IP addresses with the Trojan virus infected 3,607 Chinese websites, an increase of 43 percent compared with 2017, CNCERT said.
Aside from implanting viruses, the US has long been hacking information from the terminals of Chinese customers, and has been utilizing apps to tap, steal information and analyze the information they obtained, a Beijing-based military expert, who also specializes in cybersecurity, told the Global Times on 10 June.
The increase of the attacks indicates that the US is preparing larger-scale cyber attacks against China, and could escalate to a “cyber war” to run concurrently with its trade war to prevent China’s rapid development, experts said.
The CNCERT report proves that despite all the accusation from the US that China has been threatening its cybersecurity, the US itself is the biggest cyber attacker, the anonymous expert said.
The US claims that China and Chinese companies pose a threat to US cyber and national security.
In March, Chinese telecom giant Huawei said it suspected that the US government invaded its server.
Hacking technology
The US, being the creator of the internet and initiator of cyber attacks, has top-notch hacking technology, Qin An, head of the Beijing-based Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy, told the Global Times.
The US now has 133 cyber teams and US Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, who also directs the National Security Agency, said in February that he expects more people to join, media reported.
But China has long prepared for the US, said the anonymous expert, noting that in 2016, China adopted a cybersecurity law that paid great attention to protecting national security and privacy and offered great leeway for security officials and regulators to conduct oversight of the country’s massive internet sector.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) drafted a new regulation in May, which states that if acquisitions of products and services disrupt key information infrastructure, or lead to major losses of personal information and important data, or pose other security risks, they must be reported to the CAC’s cybersecurity review office.
China has likewise issued cryptosecurity policies, such as banning the use of US-made terminal equipment on certain occasions and places, the expert noted.
China should speed up the development of core internet technologies, and to ease its dependence on US internet technologies soon, observers noted, warning that “if there’s a cyber war, the US will meet with China’s full-scale fight back.”
— Global Times

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