WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump appeared to signal a trade deal with China in Washington on Wednesday (Nov 7).
"We’re going to try and make a deal with China because I want to have great relationships with President Xi, as I do, and with China,” he said at a freewheeling, 1.5 hour press conference the day after the Republican Party in midterm elections lost its majority in the House to the Democratic Party, but expanded its majority in the Senate.
He will also meet with North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un “sometime early next year” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, North Korea had to be responsive for sanctions to be lifted, but he was in no rush, he said.
“We’re very happy how it’s going with North Korea. We think it’s going fine," he said at a press conference the day after the Republican Party in midterm elections lost its House majority to the Democratic Party, but expanded its majority in the Senate.
"We’re in no rush, the sanctions are on, the missiles have stopped, the rockets have stopped, the hostages are home, the great heroes have been coming home, (Vice-President) Mike pence was in Hawaii (for) one of the most beautiful ceremonies anyone has ever seen for the fallen,” he said.
Mr Pence was in Hawaii in August to receive the remains of American soldiers, sent by North Korea following an agreement to do so at Singapore in June.
More remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War, were “being provided as we speak,” Mr Trump said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol in New York this week, but on Wednesday the State Department said the meeting had been postponed.
President Trump brushed the postponement off as due to a travel scheduling issue.
“I’m in no rush,” Mr Trump repeated. “The sanctions are on."
" I’ve read a couple of times where they said ‘he’s done so much.’"
"What have I done," he said rhetorically. "I met.”
“I’d love to take the sanctions off but they have to be responsive too," he said "But we’re not in any rush at all, no rush whatsoever.”
“Before I got here they were dealing with this for over 70 years. And I guess on a nuclear front for 25 years. That’s a long time," he said.
"I probably left Singapore four or five months ago and we made more progress in that four or five months than they’ve made in 70 years, and nobody else could have done what I’ve done. But I’ll say this very simply, we are in no rush, the sanctions are on, and whenever it is.”
DEAL WITH CHINA
Asked about healing America's political divide after a bitter election, he segued to China, saying one of the things that could help heal America was its own success.
“China would have superceded us in two years as an economic power," he said.
"Now they’re not even close. China got rid of their China 25 because I found it very insulting. I said that to them. I said China 25 is very insulting. Because china 25 means in 2025 they’re going to take over economically, the world. I said that’s not happening.”
The reference appeared to be to Made In China 2025, a state-sponsored push to dominate future technologies, which has become a sticking point in the US-China relationship as the two countries are locked in a trade war.
There have been no reports of China abandoning Made in China 2025. But some recent reports have said Beijing may be willing to water it down in exchange for a trade deal.
“I don’t want them to go down,” President Trump said. “We’ll have a good meeting and we’re going to see what we can do."
While it was unclear, he was likely referring to an upcoming meeting with China's President Xi Jinping in Argentina at the end of the month.
The meeting is being seen as an opportunity for the two leaders to reach some arrangement to wind back the tariff war which is damaging sectors of both economies. There has been speculation in recent days that a deal will be reached.
COMBATIVE PRESS CONFERENCE
Mr Trump's remarks came in the course of a combative press conference marked by testy exchanges with reporters.
Mr Trump said he would readily negotiate with the now Democrat-led Congress but if it started targeting him with subpoenas and investigations he would do the same to them – the party - and if they obstructed legislation he would blame them.
"Honestly, it makes it much simpler for me,” he said. “They (Democrats) will be blamed."
Mr Trump segued between topics, slammed the hostility of the media, and flatly rejected suggestions that calling himself a nationalist – as he did at a campaign rally in Texas this month – was opening the door to white nationalism. “That’s a racist question” he shot back, pointing at the reporter.
In an exchange with a reporter from CNN he said: "You are a rude terrible person you shouldn’t be working for CNN."