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A small homemade bomb has exploded outside the USA embassy in Beijing and wounded the lone assailant, the embassy says, but police described the weapon merely as a "firework device".

Many users on social media in the Chinese capital posted videos showing a large cloud of white smoke rising from the area around the embassy.

A Chinese police SUV has been damaged in the incident.

The explosion happened on the street outside southeast corner of the embassy compound, the embassy said.

Beijing police say the suspect, a 26-year-old man from China's Inner Mongolia region, was injured on the hand by the explosive device, which was made from fireworks and detonated about 1pm (3pm AEST).

Trump greets European Union chief, says United States seeks 'level playing field' on trade
It will rely on the Department of Agriculture's authority to stabilize the farm economy by buying excess supply. Agricultural Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas says, "They would much prefer trade, rather than aid".

While Chinese officials and state media have been outspoken in their criticism of Washington's trade moves, there has not been a groundswell of outrage on China's heavily censored social media, and no reported boycotts of US goods.

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, said the explosion was an isolated incident, and that police were handling it, according to the Post.

State media outlet Global Times tweeted that police had taken away a woman who had tried to set herself on fire near the embassy at 11am local time, several hours before the reported blast.

It was not immediately known if the two incidents were related.

China and the United States are in the middle of a trade dispute, but America remains a hugely popular destination for travel, education and immigration for Chinese.