USA conducts latest South China Sea sail-by amid trade talks

US and China agreed to hold trade talks on January 7-8 on Beijing

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United States and Chinese negotiators on Monday held their first face-to-face talks since the world's two largest economies agreed to a truce aimed at resolving their trade dispute.

A US guided-missile destroyer sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea in what China called a "provocation" as USA officials joined talks in Beijing during a truce in a bitter trade war.

"From the beginning we have believed that China-U.S. trade friction is not a positive situation for either country or the world economy".

Ministry spokesman Lu said Monday during a routine briefing that Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels were dispatched to identify the US vessel and warn it to leave the area near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Talks in Switzerland would follow a meeting due to start in Beijing on Monday between USA and Chinese officials, the first formal gathering between the two sides since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day tariff truce in December, following a widely-anticipated dinner at the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires. "Their economy's not doing well", Trump told reporters at the White House.

Ahead of the talks, China softened its stand by offering a mix of concessions by resuming purchases of USA soybeans, suspended punitive tariffs on imports of U.S. cars and toned down its Made in China 2025 hi-tech policy.

If the talks this week between the mid-level US trade officials and their Chinese counterparts go well, senior Chinese officials are likely to head to D.C.in the coming weeks to continue negotiations, Schmitz reports.

Economic data shows Chinese economy has suffered since Trump slapped stinging tariffs. The move prompted China to increase tariffs on $110 billion of USA goods.

Financial markets were being lifted early on Monday on expectations that the direct negotiations would lead to an easing in tensions between the two sides.

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Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

"We have a massive trade negotiation going on with China".

It will inevitably be prepared to remove the retaliatory tariffs it placed on USA farm products and agree to buy more United States oil and gas and has indicated it is prepared to open up greater access to its system for foreign financial institutions.

The president has taken heart in China's faltering economy, repeating that it makes Beijing more likely to strike a deal.

But analysts say the 90-day postponement of additional tariff increases is too little time to settle all the disputes that bedevil the two sides' relations, arguing that they face potentially lengthy wrangling over technology and the future of their economic relationship.

The gulf between the US and China poses one of the top global risks in 2019, according to the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.

"I think China wants to get it resolved". Trump said on Friday he wasn't concerned about Apple's revenue warning.

Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September.

The protracted trade war between the top two economies of the world is seen by many as a battle for global leadership.

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