Amidst an already complex situation between the United States and several Asian countries, President Trump’s push for stricter trade deals seems to be complicating matters even more. Between possible trade wars, upcoming denuclearization talks, and abrupt diplomatic moves, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see clearly through the multiple strategies being deployed by all sides.
After the new tariffs on steel and aluminum, President Trump announced last week that he will order tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, amongst other measures to parry the issue of intellectual property theft. President Xi Jinping’s response was swift, and targeted US exports of several products totaling around $3 billion. While this is relatively small in comparison to Trump’s sanctions, Xi Jinping warned that more may follow, and is taking passive measures such as tax cuts for chipmakers and new attractive share options for innovators. Some are already speaking of a trade war.
Back in Washington, South Korea and the US successfully negotiated a new trade deal between both countries this week. Only a couple of days after the announcement was made, Trump declared that he will hold off the deal until an agreement was reached in regards to the denuclearization of North Korea. “You know why?” he said. “Because it’s a very strong card.” While this may indeed encourage Moon to lead said talks to success, it seems like this rather shows how little direct leverage the US has on Kim Jong Un.
On his side, Kim Jong Un has been opening up to both South Korea and China, having visited the latter this week. This may sound like a positive development, but it does little to untangled these complex dynamics. Un’s visit to China gave Xi Jinping an opening into the upcoming negotiations. This will most likely enable China to influence the course of these discussions to best protect their interest. It seems like much strategic effort is being deployed amongst these nuclear talks, which are increasingly looking like the field where the battles will be fought.
These negotiations will now most likely have to encompass the interests of both Koreas, as well as those of China and the US. With so many major factors in play, these potential talk will undoubtedly be extremely difficult negotiations for those involved. Should you wish to see clearer into how to manage many complex factors influencing a negotiation, consider joining one of our various seminars which are all focused around difficult negotiations.