TRUMP THREATENS TO CUT CHINA TIES AFTER SEEKING HELP FROM XI

President Donald Trump on Thursday (Friday, June 19, 2020 in Manila) threatened anew to cut ties with China, a day after his envoys held talks with Beijing and his trade representative said he did not consider decoupling the US and Chinese economies a viable option, Andrea Shalal and David Brunnstrom reported for Reuters.


The top US diplomat for East Asia described US-China relations as “tense” after their first high-level face-to-face diplomatic talks in months, although he said Beijing did recommit to the first part of a trade deal reached this year and that coming weeks would show if there had been progress. China’s promise to import more farm products from the US has not been redeemed as Trump had wanted in a chat with Chinese President Xi Jinping that former US national security adviser John Bolton considered as an attempt by Trump to seek Chinese support for his presidential reelection bid. Trump has made rebalancing the massive US trade deficit with China a top priority, but relations have worsened steadily as his campaign for re-election in November heats up.

“It was not Ambassador Lighthizer’s fault in that perhaps I didn’t make myself clear,” Trump said in a tweet referring to his trade representative, Robert Lighthizer. “But the US certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China.”

Lighthizer told a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday he did not see that as viable. “Do I think that you can sit down and decouple the US economy from the Chinese economy?” he said. “No, I think that was a policy option years ago. I don’t think it’s a ... reasonable policy option at this point.” His office had no immediate comment on Trump’s tweet.