A US Navy guided-missile destroyer on Monday sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea where Beijing has built military installations, sparking anger in China as trade talks between the two countries kicked off.
Hopes of a trade agreement between the USA and China are gripping the markets today.
After months of US tariffs on Chinese imports and Chinese retaliatory tariffs on USA goods, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held December 1, 2018 meetings at the G20 in Argentina.
The U.S. trade delegation includes Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Jeffrey Gerrish, USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Ambassador Gregg Doud, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert B. Kaplan, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, and Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass.
Ross said the talks are at an "appropriate level" and the USA delegation is large because of the number of issues to be addressed.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed during a press conference later that day that the USA sent a vessel into the area "without permission from the Chinese side".
There was no immediate USA response to the Chinese complaint.
The operation came as Chinese and U.S. officials kicked off talks in Beijing to find a solution to a bitter trade war that prompted the two sides to impose tariffs previous year on more than $300 billion in total two-way trade.
The Chinese military has moved to intercept US warships sailing through the contested South China Sea in the latest of what has been a series of tense encounters involving the two powers in the Asia-Pacific region.
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But relations went through a rough patch in recent years as China backed United Nations sanctions over the North's nuclear tests. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that China's economy was more vulnerable to the fallout from the trade war.
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Optimistic investors are placing their bets on the stock market once again, boosted by the United States' and China's latest attempt to resolve their trade war.
Trump has imposed tariffs to pressure Beijing to change its practices on issues ranging from corporate espionage to market access and industrial subsidies.
Few details have emerged from the trade talks, which are scheduled to run through Tuesday.
During that G-20 meeting - which took place in the early days of December in Buenos Aires - Xi agreed to a number of concessions in exchange for Trump agreeing to postpone a round of tariffs on Chinese goods. "China's development has ample tenacity and huge potential", Lu said.
Beijing and Washington have raised tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods, prompting fears the conflict will dampen global economic growth that is showing signs of slowing.
Although the talks were held at a vice ministerial level, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who has led trade negotiations with the United States and is a top economic adviser to Xi, made an unexpected appearance at the meetings on Monday, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The U.S. negotiators in Beijing are pushing the Chinese side to come up with a mechanism to ensure that Beijing keeps the promises it makes, the Wall Street Journal reported.