(FOX 9) - President Donald Trump, facing nervous investors and worried small business owners, said suddenly on Monday at the G-7 summit that China wants to make a deal to end the long trade war with the U.S.
Trump's comments struck a different tone than days before, when he referred to Chinese President Xi as an "enemy." Monday, he referred to Xi as a "brilliant man" but said the Chinese economy was hurting because of U.S. taxes imposed on imported goods.
The escalating trade war is blamed for a sliding stock market, and Democratic presidential candidates have seized on the issue. But Trump appears optimistic that China will return to the negotiating table.
"I have people say, 'Oh, just make a deal! Make a deal!'" Trump said during a news conference at the end of the summit. "Somebody had to do this. This should've been done by President Obama and (former Vice President Joe) Biden – Sleepy Joe. It should've been done by other people."
It's unclear how serious China is about returning to negotiations, which have been at a stalemate for months as both sides increase the tariffs on the other country's imported products.
During a joint news conference, French President Emmanuel Macron said the world economy was hurting because of the trade war.
"What's bad for the world economy is uncertainty and the quicker an agreement is arrived at, the quicker that uncertainty will dissipate," Macron told reporters.
Minnesota farmers have said they've been hammered by Chinese tariffs and other restrictions on U.S. agricultural products. China is the biggest foreign market for many crops. Likewise, some manufacturers have said they face increased prices because of taxes the U.S. has slapped on imported materials.
Democratic presidential candidates have criticized Trump for lacking a strategy to end the trade negotiations.
"I always hesitate to comment on what Trump said, because five minutes from now, he's going to say something different," U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told supporters gathered at the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday. "A few months ago, he loved President Xi, a great humanitarian in China. I guess today, he and President Xi are enemies."
Biden took a softer approach at a weekend event, saying he would not criticize an American president who was overseas conducting foreign policy.