DONALD Trump told China’s President Xi Jinping he wants to “even up” on trade and secure a “monumental” deal in a high-stakes G20 meeting.
The Chinese leader brought up “ping pong diplomacy” as they began talks that could ease tensions or plunge the world’s two largest economies into a deeper trade war.
Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping were seen shaking hands at the start of the G20 meeting[/caption]
The talks could ease tensions or plunge the world’s two largest economies into a deeper trade war[/caption]
Trump said he was open to a trade deal and “looked forward to working with” Xi[/caption]
The exchange of ping pong players in the 1970s thawed Cold War hostility and helped re-establishment US-Chinese relations in 1979.
In the meeting today in Osaka, Japan, Trump also received a warning from Xi that “cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation”.
Trump said he was open to a trade deal and “looked forward to working with” Xi.
“We’ve got an excellent relationship, but we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade,” Trump said.
“I think it’s something that is very easy to do.
“I actually think that we were very close, but something happened where it slipped a little bit.
“We’re getting a little closer. But it would be historic if we could do a fair trade deal.
“We’re totally open to it and I think you’re totally open to it
“I think this could be a very productive meeting and I think we can go on to do something that will truly be monumental and great for both countries and that’s what I look forward to doing.”
The simmering trade row between the US and China has already cost companies in both countries billions of dollars.
Tensions have also disrupted global markets and thrown manufacturing and supply lines into chaos.
Trump said the two had seen each other on Friday evening at a dinner of G20 leaders.
“A lot was accomplished actually last night,” he said.
“The relationship is very good with China. As to whether or not we can make a deal, time will tell. But the relationship itself is really great.”
Trump stressed he would extend tariffs to cover almost all imports from China into the US if there was no progress from the meeting on wide-ranging US demands for economic reforms.
The trade war and signs of a global economic slowdown have overshadowed the two-day G20 summit.
The best outcome from the Trump-Xi talks would be a resumption of trade negotiations, Marc Short, the chief of staff for U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, told reporters at the White House on Friday.
The US says China has been stealing US intellectual property for years.
China has been accused of forcing US companies to share trade secrets as a condition for doing business in the country.
The US also claimed China subsidides state-owned firms so they can dominate both domestic and international business.
China says the US is making unreasonable demands and must also make concessions.
“We feel the U.S. side is exerting extreme pressure,” a Chinese diplomat told Reuters on Friday on condition of anonymity.
“It is raising many demands but doesn’t want to make concessions.”
The dispute escalated when talks collapsed in May after Washington accused Beijing of reneging on reform pledges.
Trump raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and China retaliated with levies on US imports.
As relations between the two countries have soured, the dispute has spread beyond trade.
The U.S. administration has declared Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei a security threat, effectively banning US companies from doing business with it.
US officials have also put pressure on other governments worldwide to drop Huawei from plans for fifth generation, or 5G, network development.
Trump has suggested easing US restrictions on Huawei could be a factor in a trade deal with Xi.
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China has demanded the US drop the restrictions, and said Huawei presents no security threat.
Several G20 leaders warned on the first day of the summit on Friday that growing Sino-U.S. trade friction was threatening global growth.
“The trade relations between China and the United States are difficult, they are contributing to the slowdown of the global economy,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a news conference.