Reuters reports, "The U.S. military said two of its warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday, a move that angered Beijing at a time of tense ties between the world's two biggest economies. The busy waterway is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and Taiwan. President Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by threatening to hike U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week and soon target hundreds of billions more. The U.S. guided-missile destroyers Preble and Chung Hoon traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters. Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet, said the 'innocent passage' aimed 'to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law'."
The New York Times reports, "President Trump's renewed threat to increase tariffs on Chinese imports upended investor expectations about progress toward a trade deal on Monday and sent stocks lower. The S&P 500 dropped around 1 percent, with shares in trade-sensitive sectors like industrials, semiconductor manufacturers and technology leading the decline. Benchmarks in Asia and Europe fared worse, with stocks in China down more than 5 percent. The decline reflected a sudden change in expectations about the potential for a trade deal between the United States and China. With a Chinese delegation expected to arrive in Washington to resume negotiations on Wednesday, hopes were running high that the world's two largest economies would end a tit-for-tat trade war that began last summer. Confidence in that outcome dimmed on Sunday when President Trump threatened to raise tariffs on about $200 billion in Chinese-made goods to 25 percent from the current 10 percent unless he saw more progress toward a deal."
The New York Times reports, "The United States and China are racing to clinch a historic economic treaty as early as next week that could drastically reshape relations between the world's two largest economies. But as negotiations reach their final stages, the sensitive subject of human rights has been left conspicuously off the table. China has faced growing condemnation from human rights groups in recent months for its detention of up to one million ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslims in large internment camps in the country's northwest region of Xinjiang. But the Trump administration has studiously avoided rattling China by not raising the topic during the trade talks, viewing it as an impediment to securing what President Trump has said could be 'the biggest deal ever made.' Administration officials have declined to use any of the economic leverage the White House amassed through tariffs placed on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to compel China to change its policies toward Uighurs. It has also backed away from imposing economic sanctions on Chinese officials believed to be involved in the repression of Muslims in the northwest."