Chinese officials on Thursday dismissed rumors that trade talks with the U.S. were on the rocks, saying that the two countries were working hard to reaching a deal on "phase one" of the trade agreement, The Associated Press reports.
“China is willing to address core concerns together with the U.S. on a basis of equality and mutual respect, and to work to conclude our discussions on the first phase," Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly briefing.
“This will benefit China, the U.S. and the world,” he continued, describing the rumors of turmoil between the two countries as "unreliable."
President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE has said that he hoped to sign "phase one" of the agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a regional economic summit in Chile in mid-November, but that summit was canceled and a sit-down for the agreement has not been rescheduled.
Earlier this week, Trump made it clear that he'd go ahead with the next round of tariffs on roughly $160 billion worth of Chinese goods if he can't come to a deal with China that he likes.
"China would much rather make a trade deal than I would," Trump said Wednesday during his visit to an Apple factory in Austin, Texas. "I haven't wanted to do it yet because I don't think they're stepping up to the level that I want."
The trade war between Beijing and Washington has raged on for nearly two years, amounting to billions of dollars in tariffs on both sides. The tariffs have taken a toll on American farmers and manufacturers and elicited strong concern from the international markets.
Running alongside trade talks is legislation supporting human rights in Hong Kong that was passed by Congress and now sits on Trump's desk.
On Thursday, China condemned the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and demanded that Trump veto the measures, warning of "strong countermeasures" if Trump signed the act into law.