Along with the cookouts and beautiful Memorial Day Weekend weather, President Trump offered plenty of distractions for any Americans still tuned into their news feeds - from photos of his golf outing with Shinzo Abe to his presentation of the 'first-ever' US President's Cup.
令和初の国賓としてお迎えしたトランプ大統領と千葉でゴルフです。新しい令和の時代も日米同盟をさらに揺るぎないものとしていきたいと考えています。 pic.twitter.com/8ol8790xWY— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) May 26, 2019
Tonight in Tokyo, Japan at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan Stadium, it was my great honor to present the first-ever U.S. President’s Cup to Sumo Grand Champion Asanoyama. Congratulations! A great time had by all, thank you @AbeShinzo!! pic.twitter.com/nwwxJl6KXH— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2019
Meanwhile, in China, President Xi was busy exhorting the rest of the world (presumably excluding the US) to cooperate with Beijing in developing new Internet, big data and artificial intelligence resources in a letter to the China International Big Data Industry Expo, which kicked off Sunday in the southwestern city of Guiyang, according to state-run business newswire Xinhua.
Beijing has an obvious use-case for improved big-data resources: Optimizing its growing surveillance apparatus. And with the White House reportedly mulling Huawei-style bans on companies involved in building said apparatus, it's unsurprising that Beijing is already casting about for international support.
Chinese tech and Internet giants dominated the big data expo, which drew some 26,000 representatives from nearly 55 countries to marvel at China's emerging leadership in the big data industry. Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and other Chinese firms were heavily represented.
China also used the opportunity to denounce Washington's blacklisting of Huawei.
The Huawei ban is a "rough" disruption to the market, Wang Zhijun, vice head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in an interview on state broadcaster China Central Television. He urged the U.S. government to stop "unreasonable suppression" of China’s integrated circuit and electronic companies.
While Trump and Abe were on their golf outing, Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin trolled Abe on Twitter.
President Trump’s Japan visit lasts 4 days. The special attention Washington attaches to Tokyo is largely a result of tense China-US ties. Japan should make more requests of Trump. Don’t be afraid of him. Trump will take efforts now to maintain stability of US-Japan alliance.😀— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 26, 2019
Bottom line: As Washington steps up its aggressive trade rhetoric, Beijing is stepping up its efforts to recruit more geopolitical allies to free itself of its reliance on American tech - while reminding the world that it can create serious disruptions in the global supply chain with very little effort.