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US, China hold more trade talks overshadowed by Kim visit

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11th-Jan-2019       
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AFP, Beijing :
US officials entered a second day of trade talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing on Tuesday, overshadowed by an unannounced visit from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
This is the first time the two sides have met face-to-face since US President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed to a tariff truce during a meeting in Argentina on December 1.
The US delegation, led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and includes officials from the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture and Energy departments, left its hotel without talking to reporters ahead of the talks.
Negotiators are seeking to resolve a number of thorny issues that have threatened an all-out trade war between the world's two biggest economies.
These include more Chinese purchases of US goods and services to reduce a yawning trade gap, increased access to China's markets, stronger protection of intellectual property and a reduction in Beijing's subsidies to Chinese companies.
There were no details announced on the progress made on the first day of talks.
The temporary ceasefire came after the two sides imposed import duties on more than $300 billion of each other's goods. The second day of trade negotiations coincided with an unannounced visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks with Xi in Beijing, amid speculation of a second meeting between Kim and Trump.
China - Pyongyang's key diplomatically and main source of trade - has in the past rejected the notion that it was using the North Korean issue as a bargaining chip in the US trade talks.
A separate geopolitical issue angered China on Monday when a US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea - a vast expanse claimed by Beijing.
China called it a violation of its sovereignty which has damaged "peace, safety and order" in the waterway.
The United States periodically sends planes and warships through the area to signal to Beijing its right under international law to pass through the waters.

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