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At G-20, U.S. and China reach a ceasefire in trade war

The leaders of the two biggest economies in the world met in Osaka, Japan at the G20 summit to discuss the on-going trade war between them. And while no resolution has been reached, the U.S. is holding off on further tariffs on China for now. NPR’s chief economics correspondent Scott Horsley joins to discuss the president’s meeting with Xi and his Twitter invitation to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    For more on the G20 and President Trump's wide ranging news conference, Scott Horsley, chief economics correspondent for NPR joins us now from Seoul, South Korea. First off, the big news is the China trade tariffs. Any kind of negotiations that might restart again?

  • Scott Horsley:

    China has a kind of a long history of sort of playing rope-a-dope with the United States nodding and saying we're gonna make changes and then maybe not actually changing their behavior. So if the measure is going to be actual verifiable changes in China's behavior this could be a really tough negotiation and certainly that the Trump administration will continue to hold out the threat of even more tariffs if they don't get what they want.

    At the same time you know, don't forget we already have 25% tariffs on some $250 billion where the Chinese imports a lot of those are not things that are quite so visible to consumers but they are having an effect on the U.S. economy.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Yeah I was just out in Wisconsin this week a lot of farmers are certainly feeling it. Let's talk a little bit also about what's happening in terms of this possible visit in North Korea to the DMZ. The president seems to suggest an impromptu possibility of chatting with Kim Jong Un?

  • Scott Horsley:

    So the president tweeted that he was inviting Kim Jong Un to come and have a handshake with him at the DMZ, the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea. The White House says they've gotten a positive response to this Twitter invitation from the North Koreans. But they they aren't saying definitively that Kim will show up.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Scott, you've got one more day left on this trip. What are the expectations? What will happen in Korea?

  • Scott Horsley:

    You know this this is going to be certainly a compelling photo-op if in fact Kim Jong Un shows up. Trump was asked if Kim tried to sort of pull him across the border into North Korea if he would go, Trump said certainly he would have no no problems about stepping in North Korea. So I think there's certainly going to be a spectacle but is there going to really be meaningful movement on the effort to end North Korea's outlaw nuclear program? That's another question.

    Remember the last time Kim and Trump met it didn't go so well. President Trump himself was aware of downplaying expectations for a substantive movement here on the denuclearization puzzle. It's probably going to be a couple of minutes at most if he and Kim do meet up.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Okay. And also at the press availability of sorts? A press conference, a very wide ranging one. Any new news from that?

  • Scott Horsley:

    The president had some really positive news to announce. News that would certainly rally the markets that the economy would feel good about with this trade truce with China. And he kind of buried the lede, he came out and gave a sort of lengthy opening statement and barely spelled out what the trade truce was gonna be. It kind of took reporters pressing him to say, can you explain exactly what's going on Mr. President? But yeah he also touched on that potential meeting with Kim, he touched on the Democratic debate.

    He was joking with reporters saying you know, do you want me to stop? Do you want me to keep going? He says I'm in no hurry that my plane is going to wait for me. Reporters at a commercial plane tickets were sort of nervously looking at their watches and saying we don't want to stop the president answering questions but we but we've got to make our way from Japan to Korea pretty soon.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. NPR's Scott Horsley joining us from Seoul, South Korea. Thanks so much.

  • Scott Horsley:

    All right my pleasure.

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