WASHINGTON—Saying their current process of establishing economic pacts had become stale and predictable, high-ranking government officials from the United States and China confirmed Monday that the two nations had decided to try spicing up their trade relationship by bringing a third country into their negotiations. “We’ve been trading with each other for such a long time now that we thought introducing another partner into our talks could help shake us out of our set routine,” said U.S. trade representative Michael Froman, who noted that after several decades of bilaterally negotiating tariffs and import quotas, both countries were able to anticipate each other’s offers and counter-proposals to an extent that had drained all spontaneity from the relationship. “We realize there are risks, and there are still kinks to be worked out. For example, we’ve had our eye on a Scandinavian country for some time, while China’s been pushing hard to get us involved with a Latin American nation. But we both agree that if we’re honest about our economic wants and needs, we may find a country that will not only revitalize our trade relationship, but bring us closer together than ever before.” Froman added that the U.S. would be careful not to make the same mistake it did with Venezuela a few years back, when a jealous tiff over petroleum exports led to a series of economically painful sanctions that has left the two no longer on speaking terms.