In all the Trump furore of the last few weeks, possibly the most significant concession/climbdown almost got lost. The odds of a war between China and the US are not as great as they were, a week ago.
A few days ago a tweet appeared saying: ‘what a fine negotiator Donald Trump is, he has given China a concession the US had already agreed to.’
Presumably, the tweet was meant to be taken ironically.
It is not commonly understood how much the Chinese government fears the idea of popular discontent. The government has to give the people what they want, or trouble may follow.
And in China, feelings towards Taiwan and ownership of certain islands in the seas between China and its neighbours run deep.
So, when President Trump, or President-elect Trump spoke to the President of Taiwan, the reaction in China was furious.
The US President is the author the Art of the Deal. He is a believer in taking a tough negotiating position and never showing weakness.
Talk coming from people who know China was that some kind of military conflict may well result – the Chinese people may demand it, and the art of the deal between the Chinese government and its people is to never show weakness with the rest of the world.
But, in a conversation with the Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, the US President said that the US would honour China's one nation policy, as indeed the United States has been doing since the time of President Nixon.
This is a big deal. It alleviates growing tension between China and the US. But where does this episode sit within the art of the deal? Has Mr Trump sent a message to China that he is a tough customer and get ready to make concessions of its own, or has he shown weakness?