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China upbeat on U.S. trade talks, but South China Sea tensions weigh

Reuters  |  BEIJING 

(Reuters) - struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-ties.

on Monday also expressed confidence in a possible deal. Asked if the two countries were getting close to a trade agreement, she told in an interview, "It looks that way, absolutely."

The is expected to keep pressing on longstanding demands that it reform how it treats American companies' intellectual property in order to seal a trade deal that could prevent tariffs from rising on Chinese imports.

The latest talks kick off with working level discussions on Monday before high-level discussions later in the week. Negotiations in last month ended without a deal and with the top declaring work was needed.

"We, of course, hope, and the people of the world want to see, a good result," said at a briefing in

The two sides are trying to hammer out a deal before the March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Trump said last week he did not plan to meet with Chinese before that deadline, dampening hopes that a trade pact could be reached quickly. But the White House's Conway said a meeting was still possible soon.

Escalating tensions between the and China have cost both countries billions of dollars and disrupted global trade and business flows, roiling financial markets.

The same day the latest talks began, two U.S. warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the disputed Sea, a told

Asked if the ships' passage would impact trade talks, Hua said that "a series of U.S. tricks" showed what was thinking. But Hua added that China believed resolving trade frictions through dialogue was in the interests of both countries' people, and of global economic growth.

China claims a large part of the Sea, and has built artificial islands and air bases there, prompting concern around the region and in Washington.

(Reporting by and in Beijing, and additional reporting by in Washington; Editing by and Nick Zieminski)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 19:30 IST
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