WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (Jun 18) he had a positive phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and that they will hold an "extended meeting" next week at the G20 summit.
The US and China are in the middle of a costly trade war that has pressured financial markets and damaged the world economy.
Talks between the two sides to reach a broad deal broke down last month and interaction since then has been limited.
Trump has made no secret that, despite his threat to escalate the dispute with more US tariffs on Chinese goods, he would like to meet with Xi at the Group of 20 meeting in Japan next week.
Though he has repeatedly said the two parties would talk, the Chinese side has not confirmed a meeting would take place.
"Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting," Trump said.
Chinese state media said Xi agreed to the meeting and emphasised in the call that economic and trade disputes should be solved through dialogue.
“The key is to show consideration to each other's legitimate concerns,” Xi said. “We also hope that the United States treats Chinese companies fairly. I agree that the economic and trade teams of the two countries will maintain communication on how to resolve differences.”
The confirmation of a meeting avoids the possibility of a snub to Washington that could have triggered another round of tariffs.
“This is a very positive development," said Clete Willems, a trade negotiator with Trump's team, who cited the importance of a meeting between Xi and the US president at the last G20 in Argentina.
"Leader level engagement at last year’s G20 was critical to jumpstarting the talks. It will be essential to managing the current political dynamic and getting the talks back on track once again.
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In addition to trade, Xi and Trump are expected to discuss US-led efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.
Ahead of the G20, which is being held in Osaka, Japan, Xi will make the first visit to North Korea by a Chinese president in 14 years.