China's Xinhua Warns of ‘New Uncertainties’ in U.S. Talks

(Bloomberg) -- There could be “new uncertainties” in the final stage of the China-U.S. trade negotiations and China should do its best while preparing for the worst, according to a commentary by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

“Trade talks will be harder at the final stage, and new uncertainties can’t be ruled out. There needs to be a sober mind about the fact that the China-U.S. trade frictions are long-term, complicated and arduous,” Xinhua wrote Monday. The agency didn’t specify what the uncertainties could be.

The latest round of high-level negotiations between China and the U.S. ended this weekend in Washington, after being extended for two days. President Donald Trump said “substantial progress” had been achieved and announced that he will extend the March 1 deadline to raise tariffs on Chinese goods, without giving a clear period of time.

While acknowledging all those are good signs and both countries are moving closer toward “the final target of a mutually benefiting and win-win deal,” Xinhua said it also showed that the two sides have some gaps that need a longer time to fill at this critical stage.

“The last leg of a journey marks the halfway point,” Xinhua wrote, citing a Chinese adage. “Every step in the next phase is particularly crucial,” it said, calling on both nations to meet half way. “But we also need to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and take care of our own business in a down-to-earth way,” the state media said.

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