politics

Xi Steals Trump’s Thunder With Kim Lovefest

Kim Tells Xi N. Korea Willing to Dialogue With U.S.: Xinhua

Want to receive this post in your inbox every morning? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.

It was the sort of moment U.S. President Donald Trump might have imagined sharing with Kim Jong Un: smiles broad, glasses full, wives looking on. Instead, the moment was Chinese President Xi Jinping’s.

The unexpected lovefest between China and North Korea shakes up a diplomatic landscape still reeling from Trump’s March 8 decision to accept a summit invitation from Kim. With his secretive swing through Beijing, first reported by Bloomberg, Kim patched up ties with a big, powerful neighbor and raised the stakes should Trump abandon talks and consider military action against his nuclear weapons program.

For Xi, the move ensures a seat at any negotiating table. It also sends a warning shot to Trump as he threatens to drag China into a trade war. Xi told Kim that China made a “strategic choice” to have friendly ties.

That doesn’t bode well for Trump if his own summit with Kim sours and he turns back to China for more sanctions help. “If you are the Trump White House right now, you’ve got to be very concerned,” said John Park, director of the Korea Working Group at Harvard Kennedy School.

Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, with Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, in Beijing.
Photographer: Ju Peng/Xinhua

Global Headlines

Trump's latest China shot | The Trump administration is considering invoking a law reserved for national emergencies in a crackdown on Chinese investment in technologies that the U.S. deems sensitive. Treasury Department officials are working on identifying sectors in which Chinese companies would be banned from investing, such as 5G wireless communications, Bloomberg exclusively reports. Meanwhile, Trump has secured his first revamp of a U.S. trade deal, reaching an agreement with South Korea this week.

One year to Brexit | The U.K. still has a long way to go to heal the wounds caused by the 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union. Bloomberg reporters interviewed 133 people to chronicle the country’s transition to life outside the bloc and found divisions have only hardened over the prospect of going it alone. Just two things seemed to unite everyone: a sense of frustration and the realization that the repercussions will be felt long after the divorce.

Rebuked on Russia | Some U.K. allies are drawing fire for refusing to join the 24 countries that expelled Russian diplomats over the nerve-agent attack. Austria’s government, which includes nationalists with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party, was scorned when it said it wants to “keep channels open to Moscow,”while Slovakia’s president asked the prime minister why he didn't show solidarity. New Zealand said it would kick out Russian spies, but couldn’t find anyone who fit the profile.

Zuck to the Hill | The question of where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will provide his first public testimony about the company’s data practices following the Cambridge Analytica revelations is closer to being answered. Billy House reports that Zuckerberg — the subject of withering criticism from lawmakers in London and Washington — is expected to testify on a yet-to-be-determined date before a U.S. House panel. The company’s difficulties contributed to a plunge in tech stocks yesterday.

Trump popularity up | The president’s job approval ratings are at the highest they’ve been in a nearly year, despite accusations of extramarital affairs, mounting legal challenges and never-ending staff turmoil. That’s according to two polls released this week. But the key context is that Trump’s numbers are still unusually low for this early in a presidential term, a potential problem for Republicans heading into the midterms.

And finally... Brazil’s sprawling corruption probe that’s helped bring down three presidents, along with scores of lawmakers and businessmen, has spread to Netflix. A #DeleteNetflix Twitter campaign erupted over the eight-part drama ‘The Mechanism’, with calls to cancel subscriptions over what supporters claim is excess of “artistic liberty” with real-life personalities. Director Jose Padilha says critics are missing the big picture — “the mechanism of corruption” in Brazil spreads far and wide.

Inflatables of former Brazilian presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva at a protest in Sao Paulo.
Photographer: Paulo Fridman/AFP
    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE