President Donald Trump said the US could take the extraordinary step of ending the relationship with one of the nation’s top trading partners as tensions mount between Washington and Beijing amid the pandemic.
“There are many things we could do. We could cut off the whole relationship,” Trump said in an interview on Fox Business that aired Thursday. “Now if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship.”
The president may have been referring to the $557 billion in imports from China in 2018. He also said he was upset with the country for failing to contain the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“I’m very disappointed in China,” Trump said.
Such a step would likely inflict drastic damage onto the US economy, which still relies on significant trade with China.
In recent weeks, Trump has railed against China for its management of the outbreak and ratcheted up his criticism. He claimed on Wednesday that Beijing could have put a stop to the pandemic, CNN reported. Other Republicans have echoed Trump’s combative rhetoric as well.
Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said in early April the US should “make China pay big time.”
The administration is weighing several proposals to punish China by demanding financial compensation or stripping the country of its “sovereign immunity” to enable lawsuits from the US government and others, The Washington Post reported.
Experts say the relationship between the US and China has grown more adversarial due to the trade war and national security issues. The coronavirus pandemic is tipping it further into that direction.
Author: Joseph Zeballos-Roig