Author and China expert Ann Lee told Newsmax TV that the United States could suffer roaring inflation if it ever launched a trade war with China.
The Trump administration has considered threatening China with trade actions over its resistance to do more on North Korea, which could lead to an all-out trade war, Reuters reported.
While some advisers from outside his administration have urged Trump to pursue this course, he has been persuaded against it by his own advisers who have warned of a trade war, U.S. officials said.
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President Donald Trump will further pressure Chinese President Xi Jinping in talks next week to take tougher measures against North Korea, as the United States compiles information for possible new sanctions on Chinese banks working with Pyongyang.
Senior administration officials say Trump will try to convince Xi when they meet in Beijing to squeeze North Korea with steps such as limits on oil exports, coal imports and financial transactions.
So who has the upper hand in the talks?
"I'd say it's a toss-up but if I had to pick one, I would say probably China," said Lee, author of "Will China’s Economy Collapse?"
"Because from an economic standpoint, the U.S. imports a great deal from China," she explained.
"And if there was a serious trade war between the U.S. and China, I would say that those imports would then suddenly cease to come in or would be extremely expensive," Lee said.
"This would cause very high inflation in the U.S. economy and this could create a lot of pain for many Americans who have not had major salary increase, maybe working temporary jobs, this would really hurt the economy at a time when it's just trying to recover and is still fragile by many measures," said Lee, a former visiting professor at Peking University.
Lee said the United States does stand to benefit from the meetings because of Xi.
"I would say that it could be good in a way in that Xi is a very stable and powerful leader. Obviously like you said at the level of Chairman Mao, but unlike Chairman Mao, he's not an idealist who has his head in the clouds. This would be a good leader for the U.S. to interface because he's going to be very reasonable when it comes to negotiations."
As far as progress concerning China's ability to pressure North Korea, it's impossible to predict an outcome because of all the volatile factors.
"I think it really depends on what the U.S. wants to get out of China. Certainly China wants to cooperate with the U.S. China has certainly helped with various anti-terrorist exercises and China has definitely tried to curtail its trade with North Koreas as part of the whole sanctions program," Lee said.
"I would add that ever since the last UN sanctions on North, North Korea has really stopped shooting missiles and we have not heard much coming out of North Korea as of late."
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