Photo: AFP / Jim Watson

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed North Korea and trade over the phone on Tuesday, according to Chinese state media and the White House.

“President Trump and President Xi acknowledged the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue and expressed hope that it might prompt a change in North Korea’s destructive behavior,” a readout posted to the White House official website said.

Xi stressed the importance of keeping bilateral ties on track, China’s official Xinhua news agency reports, noting that US-China relations “maintained overall stability and achieved significant progress in 2017.”

“The two sides need to maintain high-level and various levels of interactions, bring the four high-level dialogue mechanisms between them into full play, and hold the second round of dialogues at a proper time,” Xi said.

His mention of the dialogues, established following the first Trump-Xi summit, comes after a Trump administration official was reported in December as saying there were no plans to revive the “stalled” Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.

“President Trump expressed disappointment that the United States’ trade deficit with China has continued to grow,” the White House readout said. Trump added that the “situation is not sustainable.”

Trump also said the US is “willing to work with the Chinese side to enhance bilateral exchanges at all levels, expand pragmatic cooperation, and properly handle problems in bilateral trade so as to achieve even greater results in bilateral relations,” according to Xinhua.

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