China foreign ministry says Xi, Trump have been in touch all along

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the start of their bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump have been in touch all along through various means, when asked when and where the two leaders might meet.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comments at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

Trump on Friday suggested that he could sign a long-awaited trade agreement with China in the farm state of Iowa.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators have been racing to finalize a text of a ‘phase one’ agreement for Trump and Xi to sign this month, a process clouded by wrangling over U.S. demands for a timetable of Chinese purchases of U.S. farm products.

A critical date is Dec. 15, when new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports such as laptops, toys and electronics are set to kick in. Both the United States and China have an interest in reaching a deal and averting those tariffs.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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