The arrest of a Chinese agent on espionage charges in October is a “big signal” aimed at Chinese trade negotiators, according to Pro Farmer Washington analyst Jim Wiesemeyer in his podcast, “DC Signal to Noise.”
Yanjun Xu, a senior officer with the Ministry of State Security, was lured to Belgium this past April by U.S. agents where he was promptly arrested, according to a story published by The Washington Post. Xu was then extradited to the U.S. on Oct. 9. He is accused of targeting several aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., according to a justice department statement.
“[The arrest] could be linked to a potential, upcoming meeting in late November or early December between President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires,” Wiesemeyer notes. “Why do I link these [two events]? Because as these sorts of things increase, they can only be settled diplomatically between the two leaders of the countries.”
Wiesemeyer says the arrest is a “big card” for Trump to play at home, to bolster his support. At the same time, China won’t want to see the case play out in the U.S. courts.
“Therein lies an opportunity to negotiate with China,” he says.
For now, Xu is being held at a prison in Cincinnati and, if convicted, faces up to 25 years in jail.
China could choose to retaliate against the U.S., between now and the summit. “I wouldn’t be shocked if they come up with a U.S. spy, like we have seen happen in North Korea,” Wiesemeyer explains. “Any American going to China anytime soon needs to be very careful.”
Each week, Pro Farmer Washington Analyst Jim Wiesemeyer shares commentary on all things agriculture from the Beltway. To listen to the latest “DC Signal to Noise,” look for the “Podcasts” section on AgWeb.com