Trump says he spoke to Xi on trade; cites ‘progress!’ on Hong Kong

Trump promised Xi silence on Hong Kong protests during trade talks
Donald Trump, Xi Jinping

President Donald Trump said Friday he’d spoken with his Chinese counterpart about the preliminarily trade deal struck by negotiators earlier this month.

“Had a very good talk with President Xi of China concerning our giant Trade Deal,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “China has already started large scale purchaes (sic) of agricultural product & more.”

He wrote a formal signing for the package was “being arranged” and noted the pair also discussed North Korea and Hong Kong.

Trump and Xi have spoken periodically about trade over the past year, most recently at the Group of 20 summit held over the summer in Japan.

They had been due to meet in Chile in November to sign the “phase one” trade deal, but those plans were scrapped amid violent street protests in the capital Santiago.

US and Chinese teams finalized the package last week. It includes commitments from China to buy American farm products, like wheat and corn, in exchange for some relief from American tariffs on Chinese goods.

Some tariffs remain, which Trump says are meant as leverage for the next round of talks.

As the trade negotiations have proceeded, Trump has spoken carefully about the unrest in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters have clashed with police. He told Xi during a phone call in June he would remain quiet on the issue as the trade talks progressed.

In his tweet on Friday, Trump said there was “progress!” on the Hong Kong issue.

And he said the US was working with China on North Korea, despite Beijing’s proposal this week that some UN sanctions be lifted on the country.

North Korea has threatened a “Christmas gift” to the United States if its demands for concessions in nuclear talks aren’t met by the end of the year.