Xi Jinping, Donald Trump hold talks amid trade tensions

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BEIJING, JANUARY 16: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday held telephone talks with his US counterpart Donald Trump to resume a suspended dialogue programme aimed at improving bilateral economic ties, amid tensions over their huge trade imbalance.

The phone call between the two leaders came as the Trump administration threatened tough action against China including punitive tariffs, sanctions and even a trade war.

Tensions have escalated between Beijing and Washington in recent months, with China last Friday reporting a record USD 275.8 billion trade surplus with the US, contrary to Trump’s goal to narrow the US trade deficit with China, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

The two leaders discussed bilateral trade and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, especially the talks between the South and North Koreas to bring down the tensions, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang told media here.

They believe that this relationship is quite important, Lu said. The two sides need to maintain high-level contacts, bring the four high-level dialogue mechanisms between them into full play, and hold the second round of dialogues at a proper time, Xi told Trump, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The phone call came amid strengthening of efforts to keep China-US trade relations right on track and at a time when tensions on the Korean Peninsula have shown signs of easing as senior officials from Pyongyang and Seoul met face-to-face on the borders earlier this month in what was their first direct talks in more than two years.

The economies of China and US are large and the differences between the two countries inevitable and natural, Lu quoted President Xi as saying. (PTI)