“Our Trade Deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion,” Mr. Trumptweeted.
The mixed message followed his warning Tuesday that he wanted a trade deal that was good for the U.S. and China, but “it may not be possible.”
That effort has become entwined with another top priority of forcing the denuclearization of North Korea, which requires pressure from China, the North’s chief sponsor.
It puts Mr. Trump in the difficult position of demanding concessions on trade from China while asking Beijing for help on North Korea.
The Trump administration has been making incremental progress in getting China to reduce its tariffs and barriers. The two sides last week agreed to a framework for a deal that, at least temporarily, got them to set back from the brink of a trade war.