Chinese President Xi Jinping called President Trump his "friend" on Friday, saying he didn’t think the U.S. was interested in breaking economic ties with the country.
Xi made the comment in St. Petersburg, Russia, while speaking at an economic forum, Reuters reported. Xi said the U.S. and China had “strong trade and investment connections.”
“It’s hard to imagine a complete break of the United States from China or of China from the United States. We are not interested in this, and our American partners are not interested in this. President Trump is my friend and I am convinced he is also not interested in this,” said Xi, according to a translation by Reuters.
Xi’s comments come amid an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. The Trump administration has imposed up to 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion in imports from China and was preparing to increase import duties on another $300 billion. China retaliated with tariff hikes of its own.
On Thursday, Trump said he would make a decision about ramping tariffs on China after he speaks with Xi at a summit this month in Japan.
During Xi’s visit to Russia, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and also called him his “best friend.” Trade between Russia and China hit $100 billion last year, with major transactions and cooperation projects in military hardware, energy, transportation, agriculture, aviation and space.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.