Trump’s Huawei shift angers US security hawks

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Donald Trump has angered US security hawks by softening his stance on Chinese telecoms company Huawei — a concession even Beijing had not expected to win as part of a trade truce with President Xi Jinping at the G20.

As part of the trade compromise brokered on Saturday in Osaka, the US president agreed not to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods and China agreed to buy US agricultural produce. In a less expected twist, Mr Trump also agreed to reverse a decision that had in effect imposed a ban on American groups to sell software and equipment to Huawei.

Mr Trump first said he told Mr Xi he would only consider addressing Huawei issues at the “very end” of the trade talks. But on Sunday he revealed he reversed his position on the sale of gear to Huawei “at the request of our high tech companies and President Xi”.

“Trump gave the Chinese a clear sense that he is transactional on China rather than ideological — which they take as good news,” said Dennis Wilder, former head of China analysis at the CIA. “National security hawks are unhappy and will try to block his Huawei move in Congress.”

Senator Marco Rubio, who supports a hard line on China, said Congress would have to respond: “If President Trump has agreed to reverse recent sanctions against #Huawei he has made a catastrophic mistake,” he tweeted.

When Mr Trump earlier this year suggested he would consider including Huawei in any trade deal, it sparked criticism from those arguing the company posed a security threat. They feared the president would overlook their concerns to meet his campaign pledge about reducing the US trade deficit with China.

From China’s perspective, the meeting went better than expected, in line with Mr … Read More...