US has more trade talk leverage with China after North Korea summit, foreign affairs expert says

Foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang told Hill.TV's "Rising" on Friday that the U.S. has more leverage in its trade talks with China after President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE walked away from denuclearization talks with North Korea this week. 

Trump announced on Thursday that the U.S. was not willing to fully remove sanctions on North Korea in return for a partial denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

“[S]ometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times," Trump said. 

Chang said Trump's actions in Hanoi, Vietnam, have been monitored by the Chinese in terms of the trade talks. 

"Right now, I think the Chinese are saying to themselves, 'look, we're probably going to have to give up more than we had anticipated,' " Chang told hosts Krystal Ball and Mattie Duppler.

"These are really tough negotiations. I'm not so sure you can get the Chinese to agree to change the entire nature of their economy and even their society, but nonetheless, they have a lot [less] leverage today after President Trump walked out of Hanoi." 

Chang pointed to comments made by U.S. trade representative Robert Lightizer prior to Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as showing that China may have thought Trump would “cave” in trade negotiations.

"I think that we got a hint of that on Wednesday from U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE in his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee," Chang said. 

"He said, look, we've got some structural issues we have yet to resolve with China, and I think when the Chinese thought, 'oh, you know, President Trump's going to cave on those,' a lot of people were saying the same thing, and a lot of people were worried," he said. 

— Julia Manchester