BIARRITZ, France/BEIJING: The United States and China sought to ease trade war tensions on Monday, with Beijing calling for calm and US President Donald Trump predicting a deal after markets fell in response to new tariffs from both countries.
Trump, speaking on the sidelines of the G7 summit of world leaders in France, said Chinese officials had contacted US
trade counterparts overnight and offered to return to the negotiating table.
Vice Premier Liu He, who has been leading the talks with Washington, said on Monday China was willing to resolve the trade dispute through “calm” negotiations and resolutely opposed the escalation of the conflict.
Trump welcomed that language and, days after referring to President Xi Jinping as an enemy, heaped praise on his Chinese counterpart.
“They want calm, and that’s a great thing, frankly. And one of the reasons that he’s a great leader, President Xi, and one of the reasons that China’s a great country is they understand how life works,” Trump said.
“China called last night our top trade people and said ‘Let’s get back to the table’, so we’ll be getting back to the table, and I think they want to do something,” he said.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he had not heard that a phone call between the two sides had taken place. However, China’s Commerce Ministry typically releases statements on trade calls. It did not respond to a request for comment.
When pressed on whether a call had taken place, Trump emphasised Liu’s comments. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there had been contact between the two sides but declined to say with whom.