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Trump, Xi to meet at G-20 as U.S. and China remain far apart

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina next month, as the two countries remain far apart on trade and China's alleged theft of American technology. 

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Tuesday morning that the two richest countries' leaders will meet for a "bit" at the summit, but acknowledged that China has yet to agree to any of the United States' asks. The U.S.-China trade spat only continues to escalate, and China's aggressive approach to technology acquisition and intellectual property is only exacerbating tensions. 

"Look, we've had so much trouble with China regarding their response, which they never make," Kudlow told reporters outside the White House Tuesday morning. "Technology transfers. IP theft. We just had a new one this is unbelievable -- cybersecurity in China, they just passed a law about three weeks ago -- it didn't get the attention it deserves because of the Judge Kavanaugh hearings. They are now permitted -- Chinese police are permitted -- to go in and hack American companies if they think something's wrong, whereabout they would steal our technology. That's really kind of unbelievable."

And that was just one example of the barriers the Chinese are using to create an unfair trade environment for American businesses. "So you add that to the trade imbalance and the tariffs and the non-tariff barriers, they won't let us own our businesses and they won't give licenses," Kudlow continued. "They've got a lot. Our asks are on the table. I'd love to see them respond. Thus far they haven't. The two presidents will meet for a bit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the G-20. Other than that, nothing I can say."

The anticipated meeting between Mr. Trump and Xi comes as the Trump administration is signaling that it will treat China more aggressively. Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence gave an entire speech laying out the perceived failures of China to adapt to a more liberal world order, and how the administration will respond accordingly. 

The administration also suspects that China is meddling in the November midterms, prompting stern words from Pence and the president. The administration has offered scant evidence of the alleged meddling. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.