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In his interview, Chinese ambassador Cui admitted he was "confused" as to who in the United States administration had the president's ear on trade issues.

"This is very clear", Ambassador Cui Tiankai told the "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" programme, apparently referring to a USA destroyer sailing near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on September 30.

"They don't know who was the final decision-maker" in the administration, he said. Of course, presumably, the president will take the final decision.

In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the United States has "not sufficiently" dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying "the USA position keeps changing all the time so we don't know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities".

The interview comes as relations between Beijing and Washington plumbed new lows, following allegations of Chinese interference in U.S. elections and rising military tensions.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai said it was "so clear that such top-level communication [plays] a key role, irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward". But who is playing what role?

The Trump administration has increasingly moved to break with decades of convention and increase USA interaction with Taiwan, despite officially recognising Chinese ownership under the One China policy.

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Taking the ball on the left and shrugging off his defender, his low strike beat the goalkeeper at the near post. McCormack and Jordan Murray scored the Mariners' other goals in their 4-0 win in their final preseason game.

"I think China meddled also", Trump insisted in the interview.

"The US trade deficit with China would probably be narrower if the US allowed sales of high-tech products to China".

At a World Bank/International Monetary Fund meeting last week in Bali, global finance chiefs warned that the US-China trade spat, coupled with rising US interest rates and tanking emerging-market currencies, could push the world to financial crisis. "So I hope China doesn't blink".

Experts say that the recent NAFTA deal paves the way for negotiations with China.

"But I told them a week ago - they want to come in, they want to make a deal - I said, you're not ready to make a deal", he said.

"But I rely on them, it's not in our country", Trump said, referring either to British accusations against Russia, or Russian denials thereof. He has threatened to add more. US growth for 2019 was forecast to 2.5 percent, down from 2.9 percent this year.

Pence asserted in his speech that Chinese security agencies had "masterminded the wholesale theft of American technology", and US officials said last week that federal agents extradited a Chinese government spy who has been accused of seeking to steal trade secrets from leading aviation firms.