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Locked In A Bitter Trade Spat With China, Trump Says He And Xi Jinping Will Always Be Friends

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

President Donald Trump appears to be trying to leverage his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping to secure a peaceful resolution to the ongoing trade dispute with China.

“President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade,” the president tweeted Sunday morning, adding that the two sides will make a deal that offers a “great future for both countries.”

President Donald Trump announced early last month tough tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum, leading China to slap tariffs on American exports worth roughly $3 billion annually.

Towards the end of March, the president announced plans to impose around $50 billion in hard-hitting tariffs on Chinese exports as punishment for Chinese theft of American intellectual property and forced technology transfers. China responded by announcing that it would place tariffs on U.S. exports to the tune of roughly $50 billion annually.

Displeased with China’s decision to retaliate rather than pursue reform, Trump threatened to hit China with $100 billion in additional tariffs, triggering an angry response from Beijing. China warned that it would “counterattack with great strength.”

As fears that a full-fledged trade war could run wild, the president seems to expect China to eventually sit down and negotiate a deal. Beijing, however, has said that negotiations are impossible under the current conditions.

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