Two weeks after Trump's ominous "China "tried and failed" to contain North Korea tweet, the US president appears to be getting closer to that default condition in US-China relations which many had anticipated from day one: a not particularly cooperative one. Here's Reuters:
- TRUMP IS INCREASINGLY FRUSTRATED WITH CHINA OVER NORTH KOREA, TRADE DIFFERENCES-SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS
- TRUMP DROPPED BY MEETING LAST WEEK BETWEEN SENIOR CHINESE OFFICIAL AND WHITE HOUSE ADVISERS KUSHNER, MCMASTER - SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL
- TRUMP IS CONSIDERING TOUGHER STANCE ON TRADE WITH CHINA; STEEL TARIFFS ARE AMONG OPTIONS-SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS
The report follows last night's news that the United States plans to place China on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, a step that according to Reuters could aggravate tension with Beijing that has eased under President Donald Trump.
The reprimand of China, Washington's main rival in the Asia-Pacific region, would come despite Trump's budding relationship with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and the U.S. president’s efforts to coax Beijing into helping to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided to drop China to "Tier 3," the lowest grade, putting it alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria among others, said the sources, who have knowledge of the internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The rating is expected to be announced on Tuesday in an annual report published by the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. A State Department official declined to comment on the report's contents and said the department "does not discuss details of internal deliberations."
Tier 3 rating can trigger sanctions limiting access to U.S. and international aid, but U.S. presidents frequently waive such action.
While it was unclear what led Tillerson to downgrade China, last year's report criticized the communist government for not doing enough to curb "state-sponsored forced labor" and concluded it did not meet "minimum standards" for fighting trafficking – though it still said Beijing was making significant efforts.
China has yet to respond to what may be a growing escalation in US-Chinese relations which started off on the right foot with Xi's visit to Mar a Lago but have since deteriorated, slowly at first....