WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has said "it doesn't matter" if Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the Group of 20 (G-20) summit later this month in the Japanese city of Osaka, predicting a trade deal with Beijing would occur at some point anyway.
"We're going to see. Eventually they're going to make a deal," Mr Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel on Friday. He had repeatedly said he would meet Mr Xi at the June 28-29 summit, although China has not confirmed the meeting.
The two men last met at the previous G-20 summit in Argentina last year, and agreed to a pause to their trade war.
Mr Trump also said China manipulates its currency to avoid the squeeze of US tariffs on Chinese goods.
"They're paying hundreds of billions in dollars. I have 25 per cent on US$250 billion (S$343 billion)... They're manipulating their currency in order to pay for it," he said.
The US and China have been embroiled in trade tensions since last year, marked by tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's imports as Washington pushes Beijing to make changes to its business policies.
Separately, the world's two largest economies agreed to a halt on their dispute at the World Trade Organisation over intellectual property rights. It is not known why the dispute has been suspended.
Meanwhile, the US Trade Representative's (USTR) Office on Friday said it will kick off seven days of testimony from US retailers, manufacturers and other businesses about Mr Trump's plan to hit another US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs.
The hearings will start tomorrow and end on June 25, the USTR said.
That timeline means that Mr Trump would not be able to trigger the fresh wave of tariffs until after July 2, when a seven-day final rebuttal comment period ends.