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Two television anchorwomen — one from China and one from the US — will debate two sides of the long-running trade dispute between the two countries.
Liu Xin, a mainstay of the China Global Television Network, and Trish Regan, a former CNBC business correspondent who now hosts her own show on the Fox Business Network, will have at it over issues such as tariffs and technology Wednesday at 8 pm EDT in the US and simultaneously at 8 am Thursday in China.
The discourse will take place via satellite, as Liu will be in CGTV's studio in Beijing, while Regan will be at Fox's studio in New York.
The debate idea came about after the two newswomen clashed earlier this month after Regan said Beijing stole "$600 billion worth of intellectual property a year", leading to the Trump administration tariffs.
"China you picked the wrong fight!" Regan tweeted on May 26.
On May 22, on her own program, The Point With Liu Xin, Liu a top anchor on the English-language channel of CGTV, said the $600 billion figure is an estimate by a nonprofit organization that had not been verified.
Liu said it refers to the US' possible IP loss to the world in a year, according to the organization's report, China Daily reported.
She said Regan's points were "all emotion" with "little substance".
Regan responded on Twitter: "Hey #China State TV - let's have an HONEST debate on #trade. You accuse me of being 'emotional' and not knowing my facts - wrong! You name the time and place, and I'll be there!"
In accepting the challenge, Liu wrote on Twitter: "My name is not #China State TV. It's LIU Xin and please, feel free to call me Xin. … But I don't want to play any mud throwing game, if that's what you prepare to do."
The debate seems to be generating wide interest in China, with related hashtags getting more than 150 million views on Weibo.
Eunice Yoon, Beijing bureau chief and Inside China host at CNBC International, tweeted to Regan that 120 million people viewed a Chinese hashtag that she translated to: "Fox News female anchor challenges debate after being accused by CCTV for being emotional".
Yoon, incidentally, was a former classmate of Regan's at Phillips Exeter Academy, a prep school in New Hampshire.
"Seeing the kind of reaction online, I want to say, it's important for us to have a meaningful discussion to try to understand each other better. I appreciate the opportunity," Liu wrote on May 24.
Liu has been working at CCTV since 1997, after graduating from Nanjing University's English studies program.
A video of Liu competing in an international English speech competition in 1996 in London was sent around Chinese social media, the US website qz.com reported.
"While the Western world views Liu as an unapologetic champion of China's agenda, many mainland citizens regard her as a national heroine defending her country from hostile foreign influences," Newsweek reported.
On Monday, Regan tweeted: "I look forward to hosting Ms Liu - in a FIRST OF ITS KIND debate on trade - LIVE from Beijing & New York." （China daily）