21:56 GMT13 June 2021
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    Beijing is betting on Donald Trump's defeat in the 2020 re-election, CCTV editor and commentator Tom McGregor opined, speaking to Sputnik. The commentator explained why China does not want the world to think that it is meddling in the Trump-Kim nuke talks.

    "The ongoing trade wars will not end soon, they will go for the next few years," Tom McGregor, a Beijing-based Asia-Pacific commentator and senior editor for China's national TV broadcaster CCTV, told Sputnik.

    The commentator opined that "Beijing is gambling that Trump either gets impeached if the Democrats seize control of Congress and the Senate in the 2018 mid-term elections or Trump loses his re-election bid in 2020."

    If the Democrats come out on top, Beijing and Washington will return to business as usual, he foresees.

    "But I believe that Beijing is making the wrong assessment," McGregor noted. "My forecast is that Republicans will maintain control of Congress and the Senate after mid-term elections and Trump will win re-election in 2020."

    If Trump wins, China is likely to "make big-time compromises and requesting either a truce or surrender on trade wars after Trump gets re-elected," the journalist suggested, adding that Beijing is apparently interested in halting the trade spat before the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics that will be hosted by China.

    "Perhaps, the amazing US-China trade deal will be signed by both Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at around October or November 2021," he presumed.

    The ongoing trade spat between China and the US escalated after Washington imposed high-tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to take tit-for-tat measures.

    On May 19, 2018, the two countries announced a "truce" in the mutual tariff war, initiated by the Trump administration in March. However, on May 29, the White House made it clear that the trade war was not over and a series of new anti-China measures came into force on June 15, further escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

    US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017
    © AP Photo / Saul Loeb
    US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017

    Beijing Didn't Order Press to Avoid Criticism of Trump

    According to the journalist, The South China Morning Post's recent report that Beijing ordered state-owned media to soften criticisms of Donald Trump amid the ongoing trade spat appears to be "fake news."

    "I have not heard about any other colleagues at CCTV.com receiving such a letter," he stressed.

    Having noted that the SCMP did not name its interlocutors, McGregor cast doubt on the authenticity of the source.

    "That's absurd," he said. "I have worked for the Chinese media for much of my time here in Beijing since October 2010 and I get a deeper understanding on the mood of the Chinese media and government officials that often go unreported in the country. Stuff that's off-the-record stays off-the-record in Beijing."

    The commentator noted that contrary to the SCMP's claim, The Global Times, a Chinese daily newspaper, heavily lambasted Donald Trump on July 6 in its article eloquently titled "US trade hegemony is doomed to fail" and continues to criticize the White House on a daily basis.

    "If true, The Global Times, a state-owned newspaper and partner to the People's Daily, did not appear to receive the message [mentioned by the SCMP]," McGregor remarked.

    Referring to the issue of avoiding "aggressive language," the Beijing-based journalist stressed that "the gossip is nothing more than routine expectations for the Chinese media."

    "As a writer of commentaries for the Chinese media, I've been informed never to use 'aggressive language' or engage in personal attacks over any political or economics topic," he said. "At the very least if such a letter exists in regards to the US-China trade wars the Chinese government was just reminding its reporters to avoid posting foolish and emotional statements."

    He underscored that the "same rules apply when Chinese reporters are writing about Japan, South China Sea, Vietnam and other hot button issues."

    "So it's nothing new or groundbreaking here," the commentator added.

    China Doesn't Meddle In Trump's North Korea Talks

    Commenting on the SCMP parallels between the US-China trade spat and Trump negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the journalist noted that "the Beijing government would prefer that no such parallels be drawn in regards to US-China trade talks and US-North Korean nuke talks."

    "In other words, the Chinese government does not want the world to think that they are meddling in US President Donald J. Trump's efforts to improve bilateral ties with North Korea in order to strengthen their bargaining chips in US-China trade talks," McGregor highlighted.

    He underscored that the Chinese government considers the two issues separate and should be handled separately.

    Earlier, Donald Trump tweeted, referring to the ongoing talks with North Korea: "I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!"

    Trump's comment followed contradictory statements made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Trump and Kim met in Singapore on June 12, 2018, pledging to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang's recent remark about the US's "gangster-like demand for denuclearization" indicates there are certain bumps in the road towards the implementation of the deal.

    The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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