On Friday, media reported that the two leaders had reached a preliminary agreement to meet on November 29, the day before the opening of the G20 summit in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. If the talks do take place, they will become the first meeting between Trump and Xi in almost a year.
"Trump is thinking about this meeting as a personal reconnection with President Xi, not a meeting that's going to evolve into detailed discussions," the source was quoted as saying by the Axios media outlet.
At the same time, other sources indicated that Trump had no intention of putting an end to the trade war with Beijing, on the contrary, the US president wanted China "to suffer more."
"'We are strong and they are weak' ... He believes more pressure will bring them to the table to make a deal," another source close to the matter was quoted as saying by the outlet.
Moreover, while there have been contacts between the US and the Chinese treasury officials to exchange information, there were no full-scale talks on trade relations, the outlet added.
"There is some contact with mid-level Chinese, but not much ... I wouldn't overestimate the planning process," a US official told the news outlet.
Trade relations between the world's largest economies started deteriorating in the beginning of the year and took a nosedive in June when Trump announced that he would slap China with 25-percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods and Beijing responded in kind. In September, Washington announced 10-percent import duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with the tariffs set to leap to 25 percent after the end of 2018.
Washington also imposed sanctions on the Chinese Defense Ministry over Beijing's intentions to purchase Russian aircraft and S-400 air defense systems.
The United States accused China of "unfair trade practices," including dumping and higher tariffs on the goods exported from the United States than the tariffs Washington levied on the Chinese goods.