Donald Trump Telephones Chinese language President Xi to Complain of Commerce Deficit

Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron not shown at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China

"President Trump made clear that the situation is not sustainable", said the White House in a statement after the call.

The White House said that Trump "expressed disappointment" that the trade deficit with China continued to grow and that he told Xi that it was "not sustainable".

China is ready to continue its joint efforts with the United States and other members of the global community to achieve progress that would finally lead to a proper resolution of the issue, said Xi.

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The president has frequently cited the trade deficit as evidence the U.S.is "losing" to countries like China.

The two leaders discussed bilateral trade and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, especially the talks between the South and North Koreas to bring down the tensions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told media here.

The trade deficit with China grew to $33.5 billion in November, according to the latest figures from the Commerce Department. Relations have shown signs of strain in recent months, however, as China resists harsher sanctions on North Korea and Trump's calls for trade concessions. Regarding trade, Xi emphasized that economic and trade cooperation between Washington and Beijing has provided concrete benefits for both parties, and thus constructive methods should be used to resolve bilateral differences in this area via a greater opening of both markets, according to the Chinese version of the call. The North committed to sending a delegation of athletes to the games, a decision that prompted hopes the two sides could also make progress on security issues.

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