Former ambassador to China and Sen. Max Baucus told Yahoo News that President Trump had to realize his negotiations with Chinese President Xi Jinping were not real estate deals.
“I think that President Trump is a little too enamored with his ability — he thinks he has to get deals,” said Baucus in a Wednesday interview with Yahoo News. “This is not commercial real estate, U.S.-China relationship. It’s not trying to stare down some kind of a business adversary, it’s not that at all. This is diplomacy — it’s hard work. It takes a lot of detailed work, and I think that frankly there can be some agreements — when it comes to China, China’s a country that will talk a lot but they don’t really produce a lot, so you can have agreements on the surface, but underneath not a lot happens.”
Baucus is a former six-term senator from Montana who served as the United States’ ambassador to China from 2014 to 2017.
He continued: “If they’re smart they’ll come bearing a gift or two, and the gift or two will be an investment in a United States, some specific project somewhere, maybe build a railroad somewhere, and President Trump can tweet that and say, ‘Gee, look at the big win I got.’ And that’s a little helpful, but it’s not really the heart of the issue here. Heart of the issue is sustainable approach so China is less protectionist, subsidizes less, and American companies get a better deal.
“It really comes down to the good faith efforts of our country and of China, and if China does not do what we’d like China to do, we’re going to have to make some decisions, respectfully. But we can’t let China bully us.”
Baucus also discussed the difference between Russia and China’s cyberattacks on the United States.
“The cyber problems we have from Putin are terrible,” said Baucus, who worked on cybersecurity deals as ambassador. “He’s disrupting our democracy basically. It’s outrageous what Russia is doing. I think China is doing a little of the same — they’re much more subtle about it, they’re more interested in commercial gain, they’re less interested in disrupting our political process, they just want to get intellectual property, get as much stuff as they can to help their companies.”
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