Liu He still coming to DC; 20 years since US bombed Belgrade embassy; MSS got NSA hacking tools
Liu He is still coming to DC, a day later than expected and reportedly with a smaller delegation. He will be here for talks Thursday May 9 and Friday May 10. USTR head Robert Lighthizer said the increased tariffs will go into effect at 12:01 AM Friday unless there is a breakthrough.
That does not give the negotiators much time, so barring enough progress that President Trump and General Secretary Xi get on a call and agree to delay this round of tariffs again, the odds now seem markedly higher that US tariffs will increase Friday. And if they do China will have little choice but to retaliate.
The “backtracking” by the Chinese is at least as likely to have been standard PRC negotiating 101 (I think their playbook actually has a chapter on reinterpreting what was agreed to before it is fully papered) as something related to domestic politics. I am starting to see speculation that Xi was pressured to pullback on some concessions, but at this point I have not seen anything convincing to su…