Although negotiations have yet to bear fruit, Trump Hotels has made confident predictions this year about opening 20 or 30 luxury hotels in China. It is an ambition that would involve the company in direct negotiations with a Communist Party that the president-elect professes to fundamentally distrust.

On Dec. 12, Trump tweeted that he would do “no new deals” during his time in the White House. It is not clear what that means for Trump Hotels as a company, and both the Trump Organization and the Trump transition team declined to comment for this article.

If Trump Hotels goes ahead with its efforts to expand to China, or even if it only lays plans to do so after his term in office, it could hugely complicate one of the most important foreign policy relationships Trump will have to negotiate during his presidency. And the suspicion that Trump as president might be trying to badger China or butter it up to promote his business there risks coloring perceptions of his every move in regard to Beijing — even those that are completely aboveboard.