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China People's Congress 2018

China's rumored next VP isn't shy about bargaining with Treasurys

Former graft fighter Wang Qishan has used them to pressure US before

TETSUSHI TAKAHASHI, Nikkei China bureau chief, and YUSHO CHO, Nikkei staff writer | China

BEIJING/SHANGHAI -- A sense of deja vu is building in cross-Pacific diplomacy. China and the U.S. are sparring over trade, just as Japan and the U.S. did in the 1990s. Into the fray may step a man who only just retired: Wang Qishan, until recently China's anti-graft czar, who also played a central role in managing relations with Washington during the global financial crisis. 

Back in 1997, when he was Japan's prime minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto admitted he had fought the temptation to sell the government's holdings of American bonds. The U.S. had been blaming Japan for a huge trade imbalance, leaving Hashimoto exasperated. Now U.S. President Donald Trump is pointing the finger at China, where President Xi Jinping must be battling the same urge.

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