US President Donald Trump poses for a photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan. File picture: Susan Walsh/AP

Beijing - Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Beijing is actively working on a partial trade deal with the United States on the "basis of mutual respect and equality," financial news service Bloomberg reported on Friday.

In his first reported comments since both sides negotiated a "phase one" agreement in October, Xi said "we did not initiate this trade war and this is not something we want."

"When necessary, we will fight back, but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war", he said.

The Chinese president was meeting former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, other international visitors and participants in a economic forum organized by the Bloomberg Media Group in the Chinese capital.

His comments followed US President Donald Trump saying earlier this week that China was not "stepping up to the level that I want" in the trade talks.

Also on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that China's chief trade negotiator had invited his US counterparts for a new round of face-to-face talks.

The report said that Liu He, Xi Jinping's point person for trade matters relating to the US, extended the invitation to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week.

The prospect of a partial trade deal being signed in the near future remains uncertain. China is pushing for a reduction of US tariffs, while Trump has so far only promised to hold off raising tariffs further.

dpa