ERIE, Pa. – President Trump said Thursday that he was certain that China would strike a deal with the US on trade, contending that his policies had pushed Beijing into a corner by weakening its economy.

"I think China will ultimately make a deal. They want to talk right now ... China is not doing well, as you know," Trump said in an interview with the Washington Examiner ahead of his rally in Erie Wednesday evening.

The administration announced Thursday that it had tentative plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping late next month. "There may be a meeting, but it has not been set in concrete as far as I know. They have lots to talk about, so we’ll see," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNBC.

Trump claimed he didn't want to put the pressure on China but was obligated to do this in response to its aggressive trade policies, arguing that US had let the issue slide prior to his administration.

"Not that I want that, but they've been taking out five hundred billion dollars a year from our country," Trump said. "Nobody did anything about it. I spoke to one of the top people in China, who we negotiated with. I said, 'How did this happen?' He's a pro, he understands my question very well. He said, 'Nobody ever called us.'"

The US has placed levies on $250 billion worth of goods from China and threatened to cover all of the rest with tariffs as well. It has also place tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum ones, policies mainly directed at China. The recent U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement includes language prohibiting those countries from striking deals with China. Beijing has hit back with tariffs on $120 billion worth of US goods.