China and the U.S. are looking to push an earlier scheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping to at least April, according to a Bloomberg report that cited unnamed sources.
Trump said on Wednesday he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal should include protection for intellectual property, a major sticking point between the two sides during months of negotiations.
Trump and Xi had been expected to hold a summit at Mar-a-Lago in Florida later this month, but no date had been set for a meeting and no in-person talks between their trade teams have been held in more than two weeks.
The Bloomberg report quoted a source saying that Xi’s staff have stopped planning for a U.S. trip, following his visit to Europe later this month. A spokesperson for the White House didn’t immediately comment when contacted by CNBC.
Earlier this month, nuclear talks between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un were cut short after the two sides failed to reach an agreement — a diplomatic snafu that has led Chinese officials to grow worried Trump could do the same in trade talks, a senior administration official told CNBC last week.
“The Chinese saw him walk away from North Korea and they’re concerned he will walk away from the China deal,” the official said. “You don’t want to send Xi to Mar-a-Lago and have Trump walk away. That would be a diplomatic catastrophe.”
To ensure such a summit would not follow the same fallout as the nuclear talks in Hanoi, the official said Beijing and Washington are going through “line-by-line negotiations.”
“What they don’t want is to send their guy here and POTUS says ‘nope I’m out of here, see you on the 9th hole,’” the official said.