Trump says any trade deal with China must be on 'our terms', urges Xi to meet Hong Kong protesters

Any trade deal the United States makes with China must be on US terms, said US President Donald Trump, as Beijing prepared to take countermeasures in response to his latest tariffs.
Any trade deal the United States makes with China must be on US terms, said US President Donald Trump, as Beijing prepared to take countermeasures in response to his latest tariffs.PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON(REUTERS) - Any trade deal the United States makes with China must be on US terms, Donald Trump said on Thursday (Aug 15), as Beijing prepared to take countermeasures in response to the Republican US president's latest tariffs on US$300 billion (S$416.7 billion) of Chinese imports.

"China, frankly, would love to make a deal, and it's got to be a deal on proper terms. It's got to be a deal, frankly, on our terms. Otherwise, what's the purpose?" Trump said in an interview on New Hampshire radio station WGIR.

Earlier, he also urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet personally with the protesters in Hong Kong, saying it would lead to an end to tensions that have seized the territory for weeks.  

“If President Xi would meet directly and personally with the protesters, there would be a happy and enlightened ending to the Hong Kong problem. I have no doubt!” Trump tweeted.

His tweet came a day after he tied a US trade deal with China to a humane resolution of the weeks of protests wracking Hong Kong. He made that comment hours after the State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about reports of movement of Chinese paramilitary forces along the Hong Kong border.  

Trump, who has been seeking a major deal to correct trade imbalances with China ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, has faced criticism from Congress and elsewhere for not taking a stronger public line on Hong Kong and for his characterisation of the protests earlier this month as “riots” that were a matter for China to deal with.

Trump’s tougher stance on Hong Kong followed a debate within his administration over whether Washington was looking too compliant while China appeared to be preparing for a crackdown, a source familiar with the deliberations said.  

A White House aide said television reports on the possibility of a crackdown were a factor in Trump’s shift in tone.  

On Thursday, China’s foreign ministry said Beijing had noted Trump’s comment that Beijing needed to resolve the Hong Kong crisis on its own, while Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador in London, accused unidentified foreign forces of fomenting the protests.  

“Hong Kong is part of China. No foreign country should interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs,” Liu said.