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Trump says US-China trade talks going 'very well'
[BEIJING] US President Donald Trump boasted on Tuesday that US-China trade negotiations were going "very well" as officials held talks in Beijing that will spill into a third day.
A member of the US delegation said the two sides would resume talks on Wednesday as they continue their first face-to-face meetings since Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a tariff truce during a meeting in Argentina on December 1.
The talks are taking longer than expected as the Chinese commerce ministry had said last week that the meetings would take place on Monday and Tuesday.
"Talks with China are going very well!" Mr Trump said on Twitter, but gave no further information.
The meeting between the US delegation - led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and including officials from the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy departments - and the Chinese side ran late into Tuesday night.
"I can confirm we are continuing tomorrow (Wednesday)," Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, told reporters after returning to his hotel in Beijing.
He declined to provide more details.
The Trump administration wants Beijing to abandon its strategy of seeking global industrial predominance through the alleged forced transfer - and even the theft - of American technology, and end massive state intervention in markets.
The temporary ceasefire came after the two sides imposed import duties on more than US$300 billion of each other's goods.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that China's economy was more vulnerable to the fallout from the trade war.
"It certainly has hurt the Chinese economy," Mr Ross told CNBC, noting that China exports many more goods to the United States than the other way around.
Mr Ross said there was a "very good chance" of reaching an agreement, although monitoring compliance would present a challenge.
Without a resolution, punitive US duty rates on US$200 billion in Chinese goods are due to rise to 25 per cent from 10 per cent on March 2.
The second day of trade negotiations coincided with an unannounced visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks with Mr Xi in Beijing, amid speculation of a second meeting between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.
Some analysts say that China - Pyongyang's key diplomatic ally and main source of trade - could use Kim's visit as a bargaining chip in the US trade talks.
But Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the timing of the North Korean leader's arrival could be coincidental.
"I don't see any linkage with the trade talks," said Ms Glaser.
"China's ability to use (North Korea) as leverage has diminished considerably since Trump opened his own channel to Kim," she said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Kim's visit and the trade talks were "two separate matters".
"China's position in the China-US trade friction and its solutions to the friction is open, it's transparent," Mr Lu said at a regular press briefing.
"We have shown our sincerity, we have established our stand in this, so we don't need other actions to gain the confidence of the US. The US is very clear about China's stance."
A separate geopolitical issue angered China on Monday when a US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea - a vast expanse claimed by Beijing.
China called it a violation of its sovereignty which has damaged "peace, safety and order" in the waterway.
The United States periodically sends planes and warships through the area to signal to Beijing its right under international law to pass through the waters.