Moves by Donald Trump to confront China on trade would elicit a "very aggressive" response, a former top US trade negotiator has predicted, as Beijing said an upcoming visit from the US president would help "map out" the next half century of ties between the world's top two economies. There has been speculation since last week that Trump -- who is due to travel to China this year -- is preparing to launch a potentially incendiary investigation into its alleged abuse of intellectual property rights. After China's decision to back a UN security council resolution against North Korea on Saturday, some reports suggested that inquiry might have been put on ice. The Financial Times called the anticipated move "the trade diplomacy equivalent of a wooden club" and warned it could provoke "a full-blown trade war". ... there [is] now widespread consensus in the US that Beijing's "explicitly discriminatory" policies towards foreign firms had to be tackled. China had spent the past decade attempting to cordon off large swaths of the Chinese economy for its own companies as part of an "indigenising" campaign that had intensified since Xi Jinping became the country's top leader, in 2012. As part of that push ... China [is] "flouting international rules" by doubling down on intellectual property theft and the forced transfer of foreign technology while also pumping "massive subsidies" into Chinese industries to artificially increase homegrown competitiveness...

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