Trump takes aim at China in UN address

Trump takes aim at China in UN address
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE on Tuesday accused China of engaging in unfair trade practices and offered up a robust defense of his trade war with Beijing during an address at the United Nations General Assembly.

Trump argued that China’s admittance to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 had backfired and that the country has chosen not to adopt reforms while engaging in currency manipulation and intellectual property theft at the expense of the United States and other countries.

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“Not only has China declined to adopt promised reforms, it has embraced an economic model dependent on massive market barriers, heavy state subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping, forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property — and also trade secrets — on a grand scale,” Trump said.

Trump said the WTO needs “massive change” and accused past leaders of ignoring China’s behavior as a result of “globalism” — echoing a theme of his overall remarks in which he promoted the benefits of patriotism and isolationism. 

“For years, these abuses were tolerated, ignored or even encouraged. Globalism exerted a religious pull over past leaders, causing them to ignore their own national interests,” the president said. “As far as America is concerned, those days are over.”

Trump defended his trade war with China, which has rattled global markets and contributed to fears of the prospect of a U.S. recession heading into the 2020 elections.

Trump said that as a result of his administration’s imposition of tariffs on China, “supply chains are relocating back to America and other nations and billions of dollars are being paid to our Treasury.”

Trump's remarks come as his administration approaches a new round of high-level trade negotiations with China.

The president has expressed varying degrees of hope for a trade deal — which has eluded his administration for more than a year since he first announced tariffs on Chinese — while taking a hard line on the need to rein in Beijing.

Both sides have ratcheted up tariffs on one another, though tensions seem to have eased in recent weeks ahead of the next round of negotiations in October. 

Trump said last week that he would not agree to a deal on the margins with China and that he didn’t believe he needs an agreement before the 2020 presidential election, arguing the dispute wasn't having a substantial impact on the U.S. economy.

On Tuesday, Trump expressed hope at reaching an agreement with China on trade, while underscoring he would not make a “bad deal.” 

“The American people are absolutely committed to restoring balance to our relationship with China,” Trump said. “Hopefully we can reach an agreement that can be beneficial to both countries, but as I have made very clear, I will not accept a bad deal for the American people.”

Trump also briefly mentioned that his administration is “closely watching” China’s actions in Hong Kong, where pro-Democracy demonstrators have been protesting against the Chinese government for several weeks. Trump urged China to abide by the 1984 declaration signed with Britain that secured Hong Kong’s limited autonomy.

“How China chooses to handle the situation will say a great deal about its role in the world in the future. We are all counting on President Xi [Jinping] as a great leader,” Trump said. 

“The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation. We desire peace, cooperation and mutual gain with all. But I will never fail to defend America’s interests.”