Liu had last talked to his US counterparts 10 days earlier, when they had “constructive discussions” on core issues, according to China’s official media reports.
Chinese Foreign Vice-Minister Zheng Zeguang “lodged solemn representations” with Branstad over the advancement of the US legislation, the foreign ministry said in a statement earlier on Tuesday.
The passage of the US’ Hong Kong act raised the possibility that China could retaliate by taking a more hardline stance in the trade talks. However, the phone call on Tuesday suggested that Beijing was keeping the trade negotiations largely separate from its other disputes with Washington.
Speaking to a group of delegates and invited journalists at a business forum, Xi said: “We want to work for a phase one agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality.”