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China urges US to cancel sanctions on Huawei as Trump-Xi meeting looms

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China opposes US abuse of export controls and urges the United States to return to a track of cooperation, said the spokesman, Gao Feng.

[BEIJING] The United States should immediately cancel sanctions on Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei, a commerce ministry spokesman said on Thursday, days before the two countries' leaders are due to meet for talks on trade.

China opposes US abuse of export controls and urges the United States to return to a track of cooperation, said the spokesman, Gao Feng.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping was possible this weekend when they meet at a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) in Japan, but he was prepared to impose tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports if disagreement persisted.

Mr Trump has suggested that Huawei could be part of a deal.

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The United States has put the world's largest maker of telecoms equipment and its second biggest maker of smartphones on an export blacklist, citing national security issues, barring US suppliers from selling to it without special approval.

Huawei has denied its products pose a security threat.

"We urge the United States to cancel immediately sanctions on Chinese companies including Huawei to push for the healthy and stable development in Sino-US ties," Mr Gao said, when asked whether the two sides were expected to reach a deal on measures facing Huawei and other Chinese tech firms.

Mr Gao noted that Mr Xi told Mr Trump during a phone call last week - a gesture that rekindled hopes of a deal - that he hoped the United States could treat Chinese firms fairly.

Earlier in May, the United States accused China of reneging on pledges to reform its economy, infuriating Beijing and leading to a collapse in trade talks.

The US Commerce Department announced last week it was adding several Chinese companies, and a government-owned institute involved in supercomputing with military applications, to its national security "entity list" that bars them from buying US parts and components without government approval.

China would consider putting foreign firms on a list designating them "unreliable" if they adopted discriminatory measures against Chinese entities, hurt its industries and threaten its national security, Mr Gao said.

Details of the list would be released soon, he added.

On May 31, the commerce ministry said it was working on an "unreliable entities list" after the United States imposed additional tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods and added Huawei to the US export blacklist.

Trump is set to meet Mr Xi for talks in Osaka at 11.30 am (0230 GMT) on Saturday.

Asked about a news report that a truce in the trade war with the United States had been struck after Mr Trump agreed to halt the next round of US tariffs on an another US$300 billion of Chinese goods, Mr Gao said China would welcome action that helped reduce tension.

"We welcome actions that help manage differences and prevent an escalation in frictions," he said, without answering directly whether a deal was expected at the summit.

On Thursday, the South China Morning Post said the United States and China had agreed to a tentative truce in their trade dispute, citing sources.

Mr Trump, who set off for the summit in Japan on Wednesday, also raised the possibility that he may impose a lower, 10 per cent duty on a list of US$300 billion worth of Chinese imports, instead of the proposed 25 per cent rate, according to the newspaper.

In a commentary on Thursday, the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily said a US attempt to win a "quick and easy" trade war had proven to be futile and the Chinese people must not be fearful in fighting against the United States.

"It's very clear that some people in the United States are insisting on curbing China's development using excuses of trade frictions," it said. "At this moment, fear is no use."

"If China concedes blindly under the pressure of (US) hegemony, this will really be a volte-face-esque historic mistake." 

REUTERS