Trump's tariffs on hundreds of billions in Chinese goods were scheduled to increase from 10 to 25 percent on March 1st, but Trump cited possibly-nonexistent "progress" in trade talks when he delayed the increase and invited Chinese President Xi Jingping to the Mar-a-Lago for a "signing summit."
Recent reports made it appear that Trump would not have something ready to sign at his so-called "signing summit" and it now looks less likely than ever that he will meet with President Xi Jinping.
Chinese state media has reported that officials believe Trump would walk away from a meeting with Jinping just like he walked away from his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. And in response, the White House has called that "absurd" while not necessarily denying that he would walk away.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday it was “absurd” to suggest that President Donald Trump was an unreliable negotiator as China reportedly balks at a summit with President Xi Jinping over concerns Trump would walk away from a trade deal. [...]
[White House Press Secretary Sarah] Sanders scoffed at reports that China was wary of a summit after Trump did not make a peace deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a summit in Vietnam.
Asked about reported Chinese concerns that Trump was an unreliable negotiating partner, Sanders said: “I would say that’s absurd. The president’s going to make a deal if it’s a good deal. He’s going to make a deal if it’s in the best interest of America.”
I think it's abundantly clear to the entire world that Trump is the world's most unreliable negotiator, so I suppose there wasn't necessarily a lot the White House could say in response to this.
The big question is whether or not Trump will respond to these developments by imposing higher tariffs.
Trump's increase in tariffs from 10 to 25 percent was delayed, but we don't know how long it was delayed for and, technically, Trump could impose higher tariffs tomorrow if his whims called for it.