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Trump’s new ZTE tweets trump old ZTE tweets

No deal! No talks! Fake news! China bad! So much winning!

United States president Donald Trump has again tried to clarify just what he meant when he tweeted about protecting jobs at Chinese networking kit-maker ZTE.

Trump first tweeted that “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast.”

But a day later he said talks about ZTE were taking place because it “buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies.”

Now Trump said nothing has happened, in the following three tweets:

Today’s tweets take Trump’s position from ZTE’s fate being an easily-resolvable one-off that he and great friend Xi can fix to being a part of wider US/China trade negotiations. Such matters are notorious for taking years to address.

Trump’s position is also at odds with others in his administration, who have characterised the ZTE situation as standalone situation sparked by the Chinese company’s supposed flouting of US bans on doing business with Iran and North Korea. It’s not unusual for Trump’s presidential tweets to contradict policy, cabinet members, or even previous presidential tweets.

Just what is being done about ZTE therefore remains unknown. The company plans to appeal the ban on US companies supplying it, but that process could also take considerable time. ®

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