US President Donald Trump has said he will not rule out taking action against North Korea even if he cannot achieve an agreement with China.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Trump said: “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”
Trump will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday in his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, with North Korea and the US trade deficit high up the agenda.
The President told the FT China has “great influence” with North Korea and could help the US.
He said: “If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone.”
Trump also said he will push China to cut its trade surplus with the US, a key part of his economic nationalist campaign platform.
When asked how he would achieve this he said: “By telling China that we cannot continue to trade if we are going to have an unfair deal like we have right now. This is an unfair deal.”
Trump repeated the accusation that China manipulates its currency to boost exports at the expense of US workers who would otherwise manufacture the products consumed in the world’s largest economy.
While the White House has yet to officially brand China a currency manipulator – a move which would enable legal action under the World Trade Organization – Trump and his economic advisers have repeatedly made it clear reducing the US trade deficit with China is a major policy priority.
Trump did not address another policy priority, tax reform plans, in any detail. However, he did say he would try to gain Democrat support for another attempt at his failed healthcare reforms.
Meanwhile Trump rowed back on some of his criticisms of the EU. He has previously said Brexit would make the EU weaker and the UK stronger, but said he now thought “It could be a very good thing for both.”
He said: “I think Brexit is very good for the UK, it is going to be very good for UK. I would have thought when it happened that more would follow, but I really think the European Union is getting their act together.”