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BIARRITZ, France —President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, concluding the G-7 summit.
The joint presser follows a series of meetings with leaders from the six other member nations, as well as other world leaders in attendance, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt.
Macron had pulled a surprise at the annual gathering, by inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss a possible de-escalation in tensions between Tehran and Washington. Trump reportedly said that Macron had asked a day earlier if it would be okay to invite Zarif, and Trump had agreed.
Much of the U.S. president's focus, however, was dedicated to a country not represented at the high-profile summit: China.
With the U.S.-China trade war growing rapidly more hostile and intense, Trump made waves Monday morning by claiming that Beijing wants to return to the negotiating table for serious talks to resolve their dispute.
"China called last night our top trade people and said 'let's get back to the table,' so we will be getting back to the table and I think they want to do something. They have been hurt very badly but they understand this is the right thing to do and I have great respect for it. This is a very positive development for the world," Trump said.
Trump's aides, including top economic advisor Larry Kudlow, have previously said that talks between the two economic superpowers remain ongoing, even as both sides ratchet up their tariffs on each others' imports. But Trump's comments signaled a sign of progress that appeared to mollify nervous investors, as U.S. stock futures surged before Monday's open.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware that a phone call between the two sides had actually taken place.
A day prior, Trump said he could declare the escalating U.S.-China trade war as a national emergency if he wanted to.
Asked Sunday if he had second thoughts about Friday's move to escalate the trade war with China, Trump said "Yup," adding: "I have second thoughts about everything."
Hours later, the White House issued a statement saying that Trump meant to say that he wished he had raised tariffs on Beijing even higher.
"His answer has been greatly misinterpreted," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham wrote. "President Trump responded in the affirmative – because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."
Nevertheless, Trump's announcement marked a shift in tone from days earlier, when he said he would hike the 25% tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products up to 30% on Oct. 1. The U.S. will also raise tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods, which start to take effect on Sept. 1, will now be 15% instead of 10%, Trump said.
— CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed reporting from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
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