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Trump says U.S. 'not ready to make a deal' on trade with China

President Donald Trump says the U.S. isn't ready to make a trade deal with China, but he's leaving open the possibility that the two nations could strike an agreement someday.

Talks are stalled and Trump is betting China can't afford to continue paying tariffs

President Donald Trump speaks Monday, May 27, in Tokyo. At his news conference he said the U.S. is 'not ready to make a deal' with China. (Evan Vucci/ Associated Press)

President Donald Trump says the U.S. isn't ready to make a trade deal with China, but he's leaving open the possibility that the two nations could strike an agreement someday.

Speaking in Tokyo Monday, Trump said of China, "they would like to make a deal. We're not ready to make a deal."

"I think they probably wish they made the deal that they had on the table before they tried to renegotiate it," the president said Monday at a joint press conference in Tokyo alongside Japanese leader Shinzo Abe.

During his visit, he urged Japanese businesses to invest more in the U.S. He has said he is unhappy with Japan's large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached

Talks between China and the U.S. on trade have been ongoing for months, with the U.S. putting pressure on China by levying tariffs on imports. The U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent early in May and China retaliated by hiking its own tariffs on U.S. goods.

Suggests more tariffs on China

Trump hinted at more tariff action, if a resolution doesn't take place soon. "We're taking in tens of millions of dollars of tariffs and that number could go up very, very substantially, very easily."

Still, Trump predicted a "very good deal with China sometime into the future because I don't believe that China can continue to pay these really hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs."

Trump has said he expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, next month at a G20 meeting in Japan.

In China, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the latest statement from the president.

"For a period of time, you may have noticed that the U.S. side, including some high-ranking figures, has had various sayings about the China-U.S. economic and trade consultations. Sometimes they say a deal will soon be reached, other times they say it is difficult to reach a deal," Lu Kang said.

He said China has consistently supported reaching a deal and "any differences between any two countries certainly should be settled through friendly consultations and negotiations."

He called for "mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit" in the trade negotiations.

With files from Associated Press, Reuters

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