China Daily editorial: Message delivered; was it received?
The US leader has not been very happy to be seen as an outlier among the other leaders attending the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, mainly because of his different stance on issues such as the Iran nuclear deal and climate change, which have made it impossible for the world's major industrialized countries to unite around common goals.
But then he prefers to talk rather than listen, and he has hitherto paid little heed to complaints that the trade war he has launched against China is aggravating the woes of other countries.
The European economy faces dim prospects, with Germany already on the brink of a recession after its economy declined in the second quarter, and a possible no-deal Brexit set to bring even more chaos. The trade war between China and the United States has only worsened the situation.
That is why, just before the start of the G7 summit, European Council President Donald Tusk said that "trade wars will lead to recession" while stressing that the Sino-US trade confrontation would be really risky for the whole world.
That worry was shared by French President Emmanuel Macron, who told other leaders at the summit on Saturday that "trade tensions are bad for everyone. We have to try to get a de-escalation, to stabilize things to avoid this trade war that is happening everywhere".
Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, described by the US leader as the "right man for the job", told the US leader at a Sunday breakfast meeting that "we don't like tariffs on the whole … We are in favor of trade peace", having said on his arrival on Saturday that the trade war was "not the right way to proceed".
Rarely have European leaders spoken with such unity on an issue. By doing so they will have hoped to drive home the message to the US leader that in a closely interconnected global economy, no one wins in a trade war, everyone loses.
Hopefully, that message has been received, since the US leader said on Monday that the two sides will begin "serious negotiations" soon, as both sides understand the consequences and where the other stands.
China wants to make a deal. But that deal can only be reached based on equality and mutual respect. It does not want any "decoupling" of the world's two largest economies, as some in the US have trumpeted, knowing it benefits from that coupling. But it will not acquiesce to unreasonable demands.
Let us hope his talks with the European leaders have helped the US leader appreciate that the interconnectedness of the US and Chinese economies also benefits the US, and that a trade deal is in everyone's best interests, the US included.