WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday “it doesn’t matter” if Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the Group of 20 summit later this month in the Japanese city of Osaka, predicting a trade deal with Beijing would occur at some point anyway.
“We’re going to see. Eventually they’re going to make a deal,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel.
Trump repeatedly said he would meet with Xi at the summit, although China has not confirmed the meeting. The two men last met at last year’s G20 summit in Argentina, and agreed to a pause to their trade war.
Trump also said China manipulates its currency in order to avoid the squeeze of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.
“They’re paying hundreds of billions in dollars. I have 25% on $250 billion ... They’re manipulating their currency in order to pay for it,” he said.
The United States and China have been embroiled in trade tensions since last year marked by tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s imports as Washington seeks for Beijing to make changes to its business policies.
The two countries were engaged in talks in order to reach a detente, but those ended in May without a deal. Washington has accused Beijing of reneging on several promises, which China has denied.
China has ramped up its rhetoric since last month, promising to “fight to the end” in the trade war and neither give in to pressure nor compromise on its principles.
In a commentary on Saturday, an influential and widely-read state media social media account said certain people were “creating talk of a so-called ‘leaders meeting’” in the run-up to the G20 summit.
If the United States can return to the consensus reached at the leaders’ meeting in Argentina and earnestly seek to resolve China’s core concerns, then it’s quite possible the Osaka summit could mark a turning point, said Taoran Notes in a WeChat account run by the Economic Daily.
“If some people in the United States are still thinking of playing the game of extreme pressure and continue the current state of instability and immaturity in their external statements, then I fear there is only thing to say: there’s no point in meeting and no point in talking.”
Separately, the world’s two largest economies agreed to a halt on their dispute at the World Trade Organization over intellectual property rights. The panel did not say why the dispute had been suspended.
Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Susan Thomas and Michael Perry