"People focus on whether China and U.S. can reach a deal or an understanding over trade before March 1", the opinion piece said.
"But in fact, people may have fallen into an "agenda setting" trap by the US".
Under the looming threat of a surge in tariffs once the 90-day truce expires, financial markets worldwide have lost ground in recent days as comments about the status of the talks turned more cautious.
The two countries are trying to hammer out a trade deal weeks ahead of a March deadline when US tariffs on Chinese goods are scheduled to increase.
The two sides, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, will have a further discussion based on negotiation made in late January in Washington, the MOFCOM statement said.
"If the talks go well but the two sides can't reach a deal on technical details, then it can be postponed for another two months - for instance, it should be fine if it's extended to May 1".
President Trump has also said he's unlikely to meet President Xi Jinping before the deadline, dampening hopes of a speedy resolution. The real issue is not the time limit but whether China and U.S. can reach a deal.
The dispute has escalated to encompass $360 billion in trade between the two economic superpowers, and without an agreement by the start of March, the Trump administration is poised to more than double the punitive duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
"The idea of a March 1 deadline actually offers a cover for Sino-US trade talks".
"Right now it is in place but that is right now", the official told CNBC.
A White House official said last Friday that preparations were under way and the talks would continue to focus on pressing Beijing to make structural reforms.
Mr Lighthizer, named by President Trump to spearhead the process after agreeing to a 90-day truce in the trade war with Beijing, has been a strong proponent of pushing China to make reforms and end what the U.S. views as unfair trade practices, including stealing intellectual property and forcing United States companies to share their technology with Chinese firms.