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Trade war

Trump says China already buying more US goods

President touts progress on trade after call with Xi

U.S. President Donald Trump is appealing to farmers as he seeks reelection in 2020.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he had a "very good talk" with Chinese President Xi Jinping "concerning our giant Trade Deal," following their first phone conversation in the week since the partial trade agreement was announced.

"China has already started" large-scale purchases of agricultural products, and a formal signing of the document is "being arranged," Trump wrote.

Xi said the "deal between China and the United States benefits both sides and the whole world," according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.

China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion a year in American agricultural products under the "phase one" deal, according to the Trump administration. Beijing has not commented on specifics. Trump is believed to be playing up the figure to appeal to his farming base as he seeks reelection in 2020.

The Xinhua account of the phone call made no mention of farm goods purchases. It did report, however, that Xi said that as long as both nations "respect each other's national dignity, sovereignty and core interests, they will overcome difficulties on the way of progress."

China expressed "serious concerns over the U.S. side's recent negative words and actions on issues related to China's Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet," Xinhua added.

The U.S. and Chinese governments are now translating relevant documents toward an official signing of the trade deal in early January, weeks after the original mid-November goal.

Trump also spoke with Xi about North Korea, according to the tweet. He likely discussed a response with Xi, who carries clout with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, amid growing speculation that Pyongyang could resume intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Trump wrote of unspecified "progress!" on Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which he signed in November and which calls for U.S. sanctions against Chinese officials who violate human rights in the city, has been feared to threaten relations and pose a hurdle to a Sino-American trade deal.

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