Top Chinese and US trade negotiators have held telephone talks ahead of a crunch meeting between presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at the G20 summit this week, Chinese state media said Tuesday. Vice Premier Liu He — Xi’s pointman in the trade war — spoke with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday and they “exchanged opinions on economic and trade issues,” according to the official Xinhua news agency. The call took place “at the request of the US side” and the officials agreed to continue to maintain contact, Xinhua said. Trump’s highly anticipated meeting with Xi will take place on Saturday, the second day of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, according to a US official. The two leaders agreed to meet after negotiations broke down last month and both sides exchanged steep increases in tariffs on $260 billion in two-way trade. Trump has since moved to blacklist China’s top telecommunications company, Huawei. Beijing has responded by threatening to create its own list of “unreliable” companies and individuals.‘Uphold multilateralism’ Chinese officials said Monday that they will seek a united front against protectionism at the G20.“Unilateralism and protectionism has damaged global growth… undermined global value chains and dampened market sentiment,” Zhang Jun, the Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs, said at a briefing to preview Xi’s attendance at the summit. “China will work with others at the G20 to firmly uphold multilateralism and an open, rule-based global trading order,” Zhang said. Trump has instigated trade battles with an array of countries and regions, from China to Japan, Mexico and the European Union, but Beijing’s own economic policies have been criticised.