Trump Plays Down Trade War 'squabble'

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2019-05-15 HKT 02:11

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  • Donald Trump hailed his relationship with President Xi Jinping. Photo: AP

    Donald Trump hailed his relationship with President Xi Jinping. Photo: AP

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday labeled the escalating trade war with China "a little squabble" and again accused Beijing of scuttling an agreement when it was near completion.

And although he said he has an "extraordinary" relationship with President Xi Jinping, Trump insisted he will not sign onto any deal unless it is a good one.

"We're having a little squabble with China because we've been treated very unfairly for many decades," Trump told reporters at the White House.

Last week, Trump moved to more than double the punitive duties on hundreds of billions of US dollars in Chinese merchandise and the latest round of US-China trade negotiations ended without a deal.

On Monday, China hit back, announcing a sharp increase in duties on thousands of US agricultural and manufactured goods in retaliation.

And the US has begun the process of carrying out the Republican president's threat to hit all imports from China, extending tariffs to another US$300 billion worth of Chinese merchandise.

"We're looking at that very strongly," Trump said.

He said the tough US stance is working and Beijing wants to make a deal, but he also blamed the Chinese leadership for the setback in the negotiations.

"We had a deal that was very close and then they broke it. More than renegotiate, they really broke it. We can't have that happen." (AFP)