China's March trade weakens, surplus with USA at $15.4B

China economic growth strong in Q1 hearty consumer demand buffers trade worries for now

China's March trade weakens, surplus with USA at $15.4B

Prior to those elections, relations between the two were at a high point after Xi met with then-President Ma Ying-jeou, the first such meeting in history between leaders of the two governments. "Blame China, not President Trump".

Investors were betting that Xi would unveil new plans to further open up the island province's economy when he attended the Boao Forum - Asia's equivalent of Davos - in Hainan this week.

China's exports growth unexpectedly fell in March, the first drop since February past year, raising questions about the health of one of the economy's key growth drivers even as trade tensions rapidly escalate with the United States.

This prospect is anathema to Beijing, prompting it to warn that it could retake the island by force if necessary.

The spat between these two administrations was long coming.

US President Donald Trump claimed that the joint action was meant to establish a "strong deterrent" against the production, spread, and use of chemical weapons.

Later, Xi said during a speech that it has always been China's aspiration to have a powerful naval fleet, as it is a key part of achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

It is an uneasy time for firms that depend on trade between China and the United States.

New Delhi made the offer at the latest session of a bilateral economic dialogue, which had been suspended following the military standoff at Doklam near the Sikkim border past year.

"That's a unsafe trend", Richard McGregor, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, told CNN. Most recently, President Donald Trump signed a bill passed unanimously that would allow more diplomatic exchanges between US and Taiwan officials.

The naval display was cut short by a day, says The Washington Post, and "no explanation was given for the curtailment of the drills or the Taiwan Strait exercise".

According to Taiwanese state media CNA, it was the first time Tsai has been on a warship since she took power in May 2016. It gave no indication of a possible response but a foreign ministry spokeswoman said Beijing was "fully prepared to defend" its interests.

The developments follow a surprise move by the Trump administration to facilitate direct communication with Tsai in December 2016, the first known contact between a U.S. president and a Taiwanese leader since the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979.

Washington doesn't believe it needs to give Chinese leaders another list of requests because they already know what the United States wants, said a senior USA official, who briefed reporters on condition he not be identified further.

On April 12, US Secretary of State designate Mike Pompeo reiterated the importance of US arms sales to Taiwan during his confirmation hearings in Washington.

Titherington says online payments is the clearest example where China has leapfrogged the United States, with mobile phones replacing credit cards nearly entirely as a form of payment in major Chinese cities, while "many Americans still use cheques".

The Commerce Ministry announcement Friday made no mention of jetliners, soybeans or other products that are the biggest US exports to China by value.

"The mission of building a mighty people's navy has never been more urgent than it is today", Xi said.

"Even with great earnings, maybe the expectations were so high that they are not propelling the market further", said Jim Awad, senior managing director at Hartland & Co in NY.

"You can't simply take Taiwan over". But in the long term, if China wants to be treated like a partner, they need to act like a partner.

"So even without looking at their 'technology pool, ' just their ability to do simple things like that I think really makes China a very, very attractive target for developing autonomy".

Weber points out that America's goal is parity on trade with China.

CNN's Steven Jiang, Joshua Berlinger and Steve George contributed to this write.

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