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China-US relations

Donald Trump threatens fresh round of China tariffs as he claims Beijing’s meddling is worse than Russia’s

US President says further trade war measures ‘might’ be in the mix and repeats claim that Beijing has sought to interfere in American politics

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 October, 2018, 1:12pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 October, 2018, 2:45pm

US President Donald Trump threatened to impose another round of tariffs on China and claimed that Chinese meddling in US politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election on Sunday.

Asked in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” whether he wants to push China’s economy into a depression, Trump said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the US.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview, while adding that more tariffs “might” be in the mix.

Beijing ‘confused over who speaks for Trump on trade’

So far, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totalling US$250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against American products. Trump has previously threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Questioned about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

He did not provide evidence in the interview of China’s involvement in the last election or its involvement in the current election cycle.

Trump made similar accusations last month during a speech at the United Nations, which his aides rushed to substantiate by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.