China's Xi calls Donald Trump his friend

U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping arrive at a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called U.S. President Donald Trump his friend and said he believed the United States was not interested in rupturing economic ties with China.

Speaking in the Russian city of St Petersburg at an economic forum, Xi said there were strong trade and investment connections between China and the United States.

“It’s hard to imagine a complete break of the United States from China or of China from the United States. We are not interested in this, and our American partners are not interested in this. President Trump is my friend and I am convinced he is also not interested in this,” Xi said in Chinese, interpreted into Russian and then translated into English by Reuters.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Darya Korsunskaya, Katya Golubkova, Andrey Ostroukh, Polina Ivanova; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Catherine Evans