All eyes will be on Donald Trump and Xi Jinping as they meet for trade talks in Argentina. With tougher tariffs on the horizon, China hopes to cinch a deal soon — but Trump has made it clear negotiations won't be easy.
China hopes to make progress in resolving a trade dispute with the United States during the G20 summit in Argentina, the country's commerce ministry said on Thursday.
"I hope that the United States and China could move towards each other and work hard to achieve positive results in the meeting," the ministry's spokesperson Gao Feng said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are due to hold high-stakes talks on the sidelines of the summit on Saturday.
As Xi headed out for the summit, he vowed that Beijing would "make a lot of efforts to speed up market access, improve the investment environment and increase protection of intellectual property."
The Chinese leader has made similar promises before with little follow-through, drawing the ire of foreign businesses located in China.
Trump unsure about trade deal with China
While departing for the G20 summit on Thursday, Trump told reporters that although he was open to making a trade deal with China when he meets with Xi, he wasn't convinced that he should give up the tariffs.
"We are very close to doing something with China, but I don't know that I want to do it," Trump said, adding: "I like the deal we have now."
This year, Washington levied duties between 10 percent and 25 percent on Chinese goods worth some $250 billion (€219 billion), arguing that the tariffs are necessary to combat what the Trump administration describes as China's unfair trade practices.
The 10 percent US tariffs are set to climb to 25 percent in January.
Beijing has also raised its own tariffs against the US in retaliation, in a fight that has shaken financial markets.
Read more: US-China trade row: Should Americans worry?
'I love China'
US President Donald Trump is known for his polarizing statements, not least when it comes to China. Shortly after announcing his presidential bid in 2016, Trump told an American broadcaster: "I love China." But his remarks regarding Beijing haven't always been so positive. DW examines the best quotes uttered by the US president concerning the People's Republic of China.
'China is raping our country'
Trump has used particularly strong language to describe US-China relations."We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world," he told a rally during his presidential campaign. In 2011, Trump claimed "China is raping this country" during a tour of a defense manufacturer in New Hampshire, local media reported.
'Korea actually used to be a part of China'
"He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years ... and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China," Trump told the Wall Street Journal in April after meeting China's Xi Jinping. The remark prompted concern in South Korea, prompting China's foreign ministry to say: "There is nothing ... to worry about."
'Just take them to McDonald's'
For Trump, fast food might be enough. "I beat the people from China. I win against China. You can win against China if you're smart. But our people don't have a clue. We give state dinners to the heads of China. I said, 'why are you doing state dinners for them? They're ripping us left and right. Just take them to McDonald's and go back to the negotiating table,'" Trump said at a 2015 rally.
'I understand the Chinese mind'
In a fabled 2011 interview with China's state broadcaster Xinhua, Trump allegedly rattled off 20 books he'd read about China. "I've read hundreds of books about China over the decades. I know the Chinese. I've made a lot of money with the Chinese. I understand the Chinese mind," he allegedly said. But some have said the interview never happened. The only evidence survives on an LA Times blog post.
'Global warming was created by' China
Trump has often taken to his preferred social media platform to declare foreign policy objectives and decry his apparent foes. In 2012, he tackled the subject of climate change by accusing Beijing of fabricating the idea to hurt US economic interests. "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive," Trump said.
'Pressure' on Xi and Trump
With markets and consumers unsettled by the trade conflict between the world's largest and second-largest economies, experts say the two sides will be more motivated to take steps to solve the tariff dispute.
"Without cooperation on trade issues, bilateral relations would drastically worsen. In this respect, Presidents Xi and Trump are under pressure to find compromises and make progress towards ending the trade dispute," Cheng Li, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told DW.
Li, who is the director of the US think-tank's "John L. Thornton China Center", cautioned that even if a trade deal is reached, it would be "naive" to believe that the economic conflict between the two countries would be over.
"Everyone knows that at the end of a trade war — which cannot go on forever — there are only losers. For that reason alone, they will have to find a solution sooner or later."
DW's Fu Yue contributed to this report.
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