President Trump says he must meet with China's Xi Jinping before any trade deal is done

President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping
President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that trade talks with China are going well, but no agreement will be nailed down until he and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping meet in the coming weeks.

"No final deal will be made until my friend President Xi, and I, meet in the near future to discuss and agree on some of the long standing and more difficult points," Trump tweeted.

Trump aides met Wednesday with a China delegation to discuss a new trade agreement, and will talk again Thursday. Trump himself is scheduled to meet in the afternoon with the head of the delegation, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

No formal meeting between Trump and Xi has been announced.

A conference between the U.S. and Chinese presidents could be part of a larger Asia trip for Trump. Aides are also negotiating a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February, part of an effort to get Kim to give up his nation's nuclear weapons.

The U.S. and China hit each other with tariffs last year, spawning fears of a trade war that could damage the global economy. Trump and his advisers have accused the Chinese of unfair trade practices, from government subsidies to intellectual property theft, claims the Chinese have consistently denied.

Late in the year, Trump and Xi agreed to stop further tariffs and hold negotiations for a new overall trade agreement.

They set a deadline of March 1, after which new tariffs would go into effect if no agreement is reached.

Expressing optimism in a brief tweet storm Thursday, Trump said the meetings "are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides. China does not want an increase in Tariffs and feels they will do much better if they make a deal. They are correct."

Trump later laid down markers for a new agreement. In a tweet, he said he is "looking for China to open their Markets not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other U.S. businesses and industries."

He added: "Without this a deal would be unacceptable!"

The Chinese have also proposed a Trump-Xi summit on trade, offering up the city of Hainan as a site and saying it could be done after the Trump-Kim meeting, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While saying he expects to meet with Xi to nail down a new agreement, Trump also left an implied threat to the Chinese.

"Tariffs on China increase to 25% on March 1st," he said, "so all working hard to complete by that date!"

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Trump says he must meet with China's Xi Jinping before any trade deal is done