Trump and Xi in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 2017.
Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

For the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, most Western commentators on U.S.-Chinese relations saw the Trump administration’s approach to China as a strategic failure; some even concluded that Chinese President Xi Jinping had duped Trump. Recently, however, a different narrative has emerged in Western media. According to this view, Trump’s pressure on China is working, and Chinese leaders are worried. Trump’s 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports are hurting the Chinese economy at a time when China is overleveraged and growth is slowing down, advocates of this view assert. Meanwhile, they say, Trump’s July meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was a brilliant tactical feint: by negotiating a “cease-fire agreement” over trade with the EU, Trump united the West against China. In September, Trump showed his resolve by imposing tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. At the

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  • Yadong Liu is former Chief Executive Officer of CEFC Global Strategic Holdings, a New York–based firm that invests in energy and energy technologies.
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