The U.S. president contradicted his own trade ambassador’s stance, and relations between the world’s two largest economies are at their lowest point in years. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

China said on Friday that any decision by Washington to arbitrarily cut economic ties with Beijing would not be realistic or wise, responding to renewed threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to “decouple” from China.

“It will not solve the U.S. own problems at home. It will only hurt the American citizens.”

A top U.S. diplomat for East Asia described U.S.-China relations as “tense” after the two nations held the first high-level face-to-face talks in months.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, for a day of talks in Hawaii on Wednesday, but those appear to have done little to improve the mood.

Relations between the globe’s two largest economies are at their lowest point in years amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Trump has accused Beijing of not being transparent about the outbreak.

The first phase of a U.S.-China trade deal calls on Beijing to buy $200 billion in U.S. goods and services over two years, but skeptics say the pandemic and resulting economic slowdowns will make it difficult for Beijing to reach its targets for this year.

America’s top trade negotiator, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday told Congress he did not think it would be possible to “decouple” the economies of the two countries.

Trump contradicted Lighthizer in a tweet Thursday, writing “the U.S. certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China.”

Adding to scrutiny over U.S.-China ties, a new book by former national security adviser John Bolton claims Trump at one point sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s aid to win re-election in November.

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