Top U.S. officials are saying no one should expect any major deals when President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet later this week at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
The officials say the main purpose of the meeting is to reach agreement to restart trade negotiations that broke off in May.
Eleven rounds of talks have failed to ease U.S. concerns over China's massive trade surplus with the U.S. and alleged intellectual property theft.
Trump has already threatened another $325 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, which would cover just about everything China exports to the U.S. that is not already covered by the current 25% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports.
China has slapped its own tariffs on U.S. products, including those produced by already financially strapped American farmers.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday in Beijing the meeting will hopefully "promote mutual trust" and "resolve some of the outstanding issues we are facing now."
A senior U.S. official said Monday the meeting will provide Trump the chance to get China's position on the escalating trade war. The official added Trump would be "comfortable with any outcome" of the meeting.
The U.S. has accused China of building a huge trade surplus with the U.S. while stealing technological and trade secrets. It alleges China demands U.S. businesses operating in China to give up some of that information if they want access to the Chinese market.
China denies the charges and says the U.S. is trying to deny a competitor a piece of the global marketplace.