China

Trump preparing retaliatory actions against China: report

The Trump administration is exploring retaliatory actions against China over the country’s handling of the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Senior administration officials at multiple agencies, including the intelligence community, were expected to meet Thursday to discuss possible steps such as demanding financial compensation, two people with knowledge of the meeting told the Post. 

President Trump recently has been more critical of China’s response to the pandemic, accusing the country of withholding information about the coronavirus early on.

The president and his aides have reportedly talked in private about trying to strip China of its “sovereign immunity,” a move that would allow the U.S. government and citizens to sue Beijing for damages. However, legal experts told the Post that such a step would face challenges and could require congressional support.

Officials also reportedly discussed canceling U.S. debt obligations to China. It was unknown if the president was in favor of this proposal.

Some officials have cautioned Trump to wait on taking action against China until after the pandemic subsides since the trading partner is a key source of medical supplies for the U.S., according to the Post.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council (NSC) told the Post in an email that it doesn’t comment on “internal deliberations.”

The Hill has reached out to the NSC for comment.

Punitive measures against China would risk further damaging a fragile economic relationship between the world’s two biggest economies. Earlier this year, Trump signed the first phase of a trade deal with China after nearly 20 months of on-and-off negotiations.

The president said during a news conference Monday that the U.S. will likely seek hundreds of billions of dollars in damages from China and that his administration is considering other actions.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters that the U.S. should remember the virus is the “enemy,” not China. 

“As for punishment or accountability, as I have repeatedly stated, such rhetoric has no legal basis, and there’s no international precedent,” he said. “At this time, undermining others’ efforts will end up undermining oneself.”

Tags China Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video