China says 'no information' on Xi-Trump meeting

China says 'no information' on Xi-Trump meeting

U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. (REUTERS)

The Chinese foreign ministry said it had "no information to offer at present" on a possible meeting between president Xi Jinping and his US counterpart to avert a trade war.

As trade tensions escalated between the two countries, Donald Trump on Monday told reporters that he expects to meet with the president of China and Russia next month at the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

"The two heads of state maintain contact through various means," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing on Tuesday.

But when asked whether China was making preparations for a possible Xi-Trump meeting, Geng said, "I have no information at present about the specific question raised."

China said Monday it will raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods from June 1, in retaliation for the latest round of US tariff hikes and Washington's plans to target almost all Chinese imports.

The announcement came after the latest round of US-China trade negotiations ended on Friday without a deal, and after Washington increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products.

US President Donald Trump had also ordered the start of a process to impose new duties on another $300 billion worth of Chinese items.

The world's top two economies ended two days of negotiations in Washington on Friday with no deal.

Both sides have indicated that discussions will continue. Beijing's top trade negotiator, Liu He, likewise said Friday the next round would start in the Chinese capital at an unspecified date.

The United States is pressing China to change its policies on protections for intellectual property, as well as massive subsidies for state-owned firms, and to reduce the yawning trade deficit.

Beijing had offered several concessions, including passing a new Foreign Investment Law that promises to cut redrape and ban the illegal transfer of technology.

A meeting between the two leaders was expected in March, but it never materialised as the two sides failed to reach a deal.

Trump had tweeted over the weekend that his relationship with China's Xi remains "very strong."

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