A routine White House press briefing describing a recent meeting between President Donald Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri caused an unexpected diplomatic uproar as it attacked China's economic behavior as "predatory."
] The wording, though common to the Trump administration, triggers Alarmglock en for Argentine officials hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit of the G-20 summit, where the two countries will sign a trade pact rgentina has also raised billions of dollars in investment from Beijing over the past decade and hopes to win the Sunday Announce the completion of an 8 billion dollar deal to build a nuclear power plant.
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Argentine chancellor Jorge Faurie tried this Return the White House statement and tell reporters that the tone is "extremely warm".
"I do not think there was a reference [to China]," said Faurie of the Argentine daily La Nación The White House was not immediately available for comment.
In a statement issued earlier, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "Prior to the start of the G20 Summit, President Trump and President Macri met for breakfast to support the strong partnership between the United States and Argentina The two Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their shared commitment to face regional challenges such as Venezuela and the predatory Chinese economy. "
The White House text could be seen as a mere turnaround in ongoing US-China trade, which has led to an escalation of tariffs between the two nations. The remainder of the statement was relatively normal, stating, for example, "The two leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to face regional challenges such as Venezuela" before mentioning China.
But the Trump government is increasingly concerned about China's growing influence in Latin America. China's invasion of the region has led some countries to align with Beijing. In May, the Dominican Republic broke off its ties with Taiwan, the hitherto unrecognized self-governing island of China.
Macri has also worked with Xi. China has invested $ 18.2 billion in Argentina over the past decade, mainly in infrastructure.
Argentina, however, has attempted to support these investments without disturbing the US, the other half of one of the world's biggest geopolitical rivalries. To this end, Washington and Buenos Aires signed an agreement on energy cooperation on Friday.
Trump's behavior during the trip – his first foray into Latin America – has, according to Macri's local media, caused other "harassment". Trump was late for his morning meeting and dropped his translation headset to the floor. He complained, "I understood you better in your language than in interpretation."
The President also left Macri's welcome manager on stage alone during a photo break, reportedly due to misunderstanding.
Andrew Restuccia contributed to this report