Trump Says Talks With China ‘Back on Track’ After G-20 Meeting With Xi

June 28, 2019 Updated: June 29, 2019

OSAKA, Japan—President Donald Trump said he had an “excellent” meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit on June 29, adding that the two sides were “back on track.”

“We had a very good meeting with President Xi of China,” Trump told reporters after the conclusion of the bilateral meeting.

“Excellent, I would say excellent. As good as it was going to be.

“We discussed a lot of things and we’re right back on track. And we’ll see what happens.”

Trump added that the meeting was better than expected and that the negotiations with Beijing were continuing.

The president declined to comment on whether a deal was struck during the meeting.

The talks between the two leaders marked the first official meeting since the last G-20 in Argentina, held in late 2018 when both sides agreed to a 90-day truce in the U.S.-China trade dispute—a ceasefire that ended when trade talks broke down in early May.

Trump has since threatened to impose tariffs on $325 billion of Chinese goods if the meeting with Xi did not yield progress.

Meanwhile, Chinese state-run media Xinhua has reported that the two leaders agreed in the meeting to resume stalled trade talks.

The outlet added that Trump agreed not to impose further tariffs while the negotiations were ongoing.

However, the U.S. delegation has not confirmed any details of the outcome of the meeting. A statement by the U.S. administration is expected in the coming hours.

Optimism

At a press conference held at the start of the meeting, Trump spoke of his “excellent relationship” with his Chinese counterpart.

“But we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade. I think it’s something that’s actually very easy to do,” Trump said.

“I actually think that we were very close. And then … something happened where it slipped a little bit, and now we’re getting a little bit closer.”

He said that a fair trade deal would be “historic” if it could be reached, adding that the United States was “totally open” to achieving this.

“I think this can be a very productive meeting. And I think we can go on to do something that truly will be monumental and great for both countries,” Trump said.

President Donald Trump meets with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan on June 29, 2019. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Trade talks between the United States and China stalled in May after Beijing backtracked on commitments to address structural issues, such as intellectual property theft, government subsidies to boost domestic sectors, and forced technology transfers. This prompted Washington to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The Chinese regime raised tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods in retaliation.

Trump said earlier that he would decide whether to impose new tariffs on roughly $300 billion in Chinese goods after meeting with Xi.

At the same press conference, Xi began his remarks by saying that enormous changes have taken place in the world as well as in China-U.S. relations in the last 40 years—since the two countries started diplomatic relations. But he added that one basic fact has remained the same.

“China and the United States both benefit from cooperation, and lose in a confrontation. Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,” he said.

He said that Trump has stayed in close communication with him through phone calls and exchange of letters.

Xi concluded by saying he was ready to share views on “the fundamental issues concerning the growth of China-U.S. relations” and advance the dialogue “based on coordination, cooperation, and stability.”

In his opening remarks, Trump also spoke of his fondness for Chinese culture.

“My trip to Beijing, with my family was one of the most incredible of my life,” Trump said, apparently referring to his state visit to China in 2017.

“I’ve seen the culture that rarely would you see. Chinese culture is an incredible culture.”

The two leaders then proceeded to meet privately.

About the G-20

The leaders of the world’s largest economies gathered from June 28 to 29 in Osaka for the 14th G-20 summit. Collectively, G-20 members represent more than 80 percent of the world’s GDP (gross domestic product).

World leaders discussed challenges to the global economy as trade uncertainties continue to weigh on economic growth. As with last year, there were discussions on trade, including reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Other focal points were energy, innovation, workforce development, quality infrastructure, and women’s economic empowerment.

During the two-day summit, Trump held other high stakes meetings with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cathy He contributed to this report. 

Follow Emel on Twitter: @mlakan
Recommended