When signing the first-phase trade agreement on behalf of the United States and Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He on January 15, US President Donald Trump introduced the scene in the presence of the Chinese delegation for nearly an hour. Of US personnel, including representatives of the trade team, members of the cabinet, members of the Republican Congress, governors, investors, etc. He thanked all the friends and subordinates present at the scene.
Generally speaking, Trump as president does not need to sign trade agreements in person, especially when Deputy Prime Minister Liu He’s identity does not match him at all. But Trump believes that this is an agreement reached by himself and must be labeled by himself. This is also the first time in the history of China-US diplomacy that an agreement has been signed by the US President and the Chinese Deputy Prime Minister. Trump also did not forget to canvass for such “unequal” official signing ceremony. That’s because on the same day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially signed the impeachment clause and announced the impeachment administrator, asking them to send the impeachment clause to the Senate. Trump hopes to use this public relations tactic of signing trade agreements to grab the attention of domestic public opinion.
Therefore, in order to draw votes and shift his attention, Trump spared no effort to keep Chinese people such as Liu He and Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, forcing the latter to applaud Trump repeatedly with his praises from his circle of friends. Of course, Trump did so to show the Chinese people his circle of friends or connections related to China-US relations. According to Trump, these people he introduced and praised were best-in-class in all fields.
For example, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Sheldon Adelson, founder of the Sands Group, known as the “Gambling King of the United States,” the US Republican Goldman.
Kissinger is a think tank outside the Trump administration. The 96-year-old politician has advised US rulers many times since Richard Nixon, such as advising Trump to strengthen relations with Russia and meet the challenges of China’s rise. Of course, for China-US relations, Kissinger’s proposals mostly emphasize cooperation between the two countries and strengthen mutual trust, so as to reduce the risk of confrontation between the two countries at the strategic and military levels. On November 22, 2019, China’s top leader Xi Jinping met with him in Beijing. Kissinger also opposed Trump’s continued launch of a tariff trade war with China, fearing that it would have a big impact on the global economy.
Adelson also opposed Trump’s escalating trade war with China. According to US media reports, he twice reminded Trump that escalating the China-US trade conflict would hit the US economy and even affect his re-election opportunities. During the 2016 election, Adelson donated $ 25 million to Trump’s campaign team, becoming the latter’s largest gold medalist, and also breaking the record of donations in the history of the US presidential election.
According to an estimate by Forbes in October 2019, Adelson is worth more than $ 33 billion, ranking 15th in the world’s richest list. Since 2002, Sands Group has established a subsidiary, Venetian Macao Limited in Macau, China. The latter’s casino business brought in nearly $ 9 billion in revenue in 2018, accounting for approximately 63% of Sands Group’s total. However, Adelson did not mention his business in China when talking to Trump.
Trump also introduced Steve Schwarzman, an American financier and founder of Blackstone Group. He specifically emphasized that Su Shimin maintains a very good relationship with China and maintains a very good friendship with himself. According to Forbes statistics, Su Shimin’s personal wealth reached US $ 10.8 billion. On April 21, 2013, Su Shimin announced that he personally donated US $ 100 million to establish the Su Shimin Scholars Program in China. He also announced a fundraising campaign with a target of US $ 200 million and has donated US $ 300 million to Tsinghua University in China, the single largest source of donations ever received by Chinese universities.
Others include former American International Group (AIG) chief executive Hank Greenberg. In 1975, he visited China for the first time, signed an agreement with the People’s Insurance Company of China, and became the first American insurance institution to cooperate with the United States. In 1990, he was invited by the then mayor of Shanghai, Zhu Rongji, as the first chairman of the Shanghai Mayor’s International Entrepreneurs Consultative Conference. In December 2016, the National Committee on US-China Relations awarded Greenberg and Kissinger lifetime awards to recognize and recognize their efforts and contributions to constructive relations between China and the United States.
Trump also introduced U.S. billionaire businessman and investor Nelson Peltz and his own media host, Louis Carl Dobbs, and Mike Crapo, Grassley (Chuck Grassley), Lindsey Graham, and Rob Portman. Most of these lawmakers are from agricultural states and industrial constituencies.
In terms of think tanks, Trump also introduced Chinese expert Michael Pillsbury, praising his “great” views on China and saying that he also has a good relationship with Bai Bangrui.
Of course, the most important thing is Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser. Trump bluntly said that son-in-law Kushner is now working harder than managing the real estate business.
Since the US and China reached the first phase of the agreement, the White House has acknowledged that Kushner has joined the trade negotiations again, coordinating and supporting the negotiations between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with Beijing.
Kushner has previously promoted the US-Mexico-Canada trilateral trade agreement and promoted domestic criminal justice reform, which Trump praised. Kushner’s accession also played a key role in the final stage of the first phase of the negotiations. White House personnel adjustments have not affected Kushner. This once again highlights the unique power of Trump’s “family” in the White House.
China has grasped this point and has never given up the moderation point represented by Kushner, the moderates. Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the United States, has always maintained communication with Kushner. But unlike other forms of lobbying, China only uses Trump’s internal connections to understand and influence the Trump administration’s decisions.
The above-mentioned Trump network includes consultants, investors, financiers, and scholars who can influence China-US relations. These people are expected to play more or less their respective roles in the second phase of the trade negotiations.