Xi Jinping just landed in Argentina today for the G20 and a meeting with US President Donald Trump tomorrow.
Xi’s main goal will be to de-escalate a trade war that he never wanted in the first place. It’s not a great spot to be in.
Xi might not be in this position if he had read the situation better, according to Bob Davis and Lingling Wei at the Wall Street Journal:
"China’s leaders misread Mr. Trump as a businessman first, rather than the politician whose fixation on trade had helped carry him into office."
"They mistook his Treasury secretary as the key interlocutor, not the White House hard-liners who truly had his ear."
"And they failed to recognize the growing resentments in the U.S., and the world, about their own winner-take-all approach to trade and economics."
Get smart: Xi and co. are not the only ones to have been wrong-footed by an unpredictable Trump administration.
Get smarter: But there is no excuse for failing to grasp growing anti-China sentiment more broadly. Frustration with China started becoming more pronounced nearly a decade ago, but China's system failed to take it seriously.