Donald Trump says his friendship with Xi Jinping not as good
- Two leaders ‘probably not quite as close now’ because of trade war, US president says
This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Doug Palmer on politico.com on July 15, 2019.
The US-China trade war has taken a toll on President Donald Trump's friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“I used to say he was a good friend of mine,” Trump said on Monday at a White House event.
“We're probably not quite as close now. But I have to be for our country. He's for China and I'm for USA, and that's the way it's got to be.”
Trump campaigned in 2016 on reducing the trade deficit with China, and over the past year has imposed a 25 per cent tariff on US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods, as well as additional duties on Chinese steel and aluminium.
Trump met with Xi at the G20 leaders meeting in Osaka, Japan, on June 29. The two leaders agreed to resume trade talks, which broke off in early May after the US accused China of backtracking on previous commitments.
Top US negotiators have since held a phone call with their Chinese counterparts, but they have not set a date to meet face-to-face.
In addition, China has not made any major agricultural purchases since the Osaka meeting, as Trump said they promised to do.
Meanwhile, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday reiterated his government's plans to sanction companies involved in a recently announced US military weapons sale to Taiwan.
“The arms sale to Taiwan has violated the basic norms of international law, international relations, and the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués [which helped establish diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington]," ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.