Donald Trump pledges to help rescue Chinese telecoms giant ZTE

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ZTE employs around 80,000 people in China (Source: Getty)

US president Donald Trump has signalled his support for plans to save ZTE, a major Chinese telecoms company,

The firm suspended operations earlier this month after US authorities banned American companies from supplying to it.

This was a result of shipments to Iran and North Korea, which ZTE has admitted it made, violating trade sanctions on those countries.

But Trump has now said he is working with China's President Xi Jinping to save the company.

He wrote on Twitter that he and Xi "are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast".

"Too many jobs in China lost," he said.

The company employs around 80,000 people in China.

He said that the Commerce Department, the US authority which has imposed the seven-year ban, had been told to "get it done".

It marks an about-turn on the part of Trump, who has previously accused China of stealing US jobs and promised a tough approach to trade with the country.

His policy of slapping tariffs on certain goods imported into the US has prompted retaliation from China, leading some economists to fear a trade war will erupt.

It comes ahead of trade talks between the two countries later this week, which it is hoped will cool tensions.

Trump also tweeted to tell followers to "be cool" because American Chinese trade relations will "all work out!"

Beijing has made ZTE a priority in its negotiations with the US.

The phone maker pleaded guilty last year to shipping products containing US-produced equipment to Iran, which is a violation of US export rules, for almost six years. It was slapped with a $1.2bn (£0.9bn) fine.

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