China knows Trump could be gone in another two years or six years, but President Xi Jingping is effectively president for life. China has blinked first in its trade war with the United States. The dragon has returned to its lair even as many pundits predicted the government was in the fight for the long haul. The early burst of braggadcio when the US slammed it with tariffs is now a whimper. China did fire counter sanctions at the Western superpower but realised it would hurtmore as the global economy stares at a recession. China has clearly retreated into a defensive position, a climbdown of sorts. A tactical withdrawal would be right phrase to describe the decision to back off in the trade war. Perhaps it is waiting for an opportune moment to hit back, or is showing patience to wait out the Trump presidency that has checked its global economic and military ambitions. China knows Trump could be gone in another two years or six years, but President Xi Jingping is effectively president for life, hence Beijing’s move arises from an abundance of wisdom, or caution. US President Donald Trump, as is his wont, is crowing about these concessions. The stage was set at the G20 summit when the two leaders met in a cordial atmosphere and called for a truce. Now, it is unclear what these commitments (or concessions) are, but Beijing appears to be in a hurry to meet these demands from Washington. With Trump busy tweeting and administration officials in the dark, the world needs clarity from both sides. They pilfer ideas and technology from Western Big Tech companies while manufacturing cheaper gadgets for sale abroad. Trade is a two-way street and unless Beijing brings down barriers erected against the West, it is bound to lose the endgame. Trump in his abrasive, confrontational style, has sounded a warning to Beijing that now is the time to play by the rules. Are the mandarins listening?