WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said on Tuesday (May 21) that Beijing was ready to resume trade talks with Washington, but blamed the US side for frequently "changing its mind" on tentative deals to end US-China trade disputes.
"China remains ready to continue our talks with our American colleagues to reach a conclusion. Our door is still open," Mr Cui said in an interview on Fox News Channel.
No further trade talks between top Chinese and US negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended in a stalemate on May 10, the same day US President Donald Trump sharply increased tariffs on US$200 billion (S$275 billion) worth of Chinese goods and took steps to levy duties on all remaining Chinese imports.
Negotiations between the United States and China have soured dramatically since early May, when Chinese officials sought major changes to the text of a proposed deal that the Trump administration says had been largely agreed.
Asked about this reversal, Mr Cui turned the tables and said it was US negotiators that had abruptly backed away from some previous deals that had been tentatively agreed over the past year.
"It's quite clear it is the US side that more than once changed its mind overnight and broke the tentative deal already reached." Mr Cui said. "So we are still committed to whatever we agree to do, but it is the US side that changed its mind so often."
In June 2018, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held negotiations with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on an offer by China to increase its purchases of US goods by around US$70 billion, US officials said at the time.
But Mr Trump did not accept the offer, choosing instead to begin imposing tariffs on Chinese goods.
The US is seeking sweeping changes to China's trade and economic policies, including an end to forced technology transfers and theft of US trade secrets. Washington also wants curbs on subsidies for Chinese state-owned enterprises and increased access to US markets.
Mr Cui told Fox News Channel that US restrictions on Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd announced last week "are without any foundation and evidence"and could undermine the normal functioning of markets.
"Everybody knows Huawei is a privately owned company. It is just a normal Chinese private company," Mr Cui said. "So all the action taken against Huawei are politically motivated."