US President Donald Trump outlined his vision on China saying that he believes Bejing’s handling of the COVID-19 is proof that China “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.
Trump’s criticism of Bejing has been consistent and increasingly sharp. He is upping the ante in an increasingly bellicose war of words.
In an interview with Reuters, the US president said that he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the pandemic. “I can do a lot,” he said.
When asked whether the US was considering imposing new tariffs or even debt write-offs for Bejing, Trump did not offer specifics. “There are many things I can do,” he said. “We’re looking for what happened.”
“China will do anything they can to have me lose this race,” he said.
Trump believes that China prefers Joe Biden to win the presidential race to ease the pressure the current administration has been placing on Bejing over trade and other diplomatic issues. He also said he was sceptical of data indicating Biden would win. “I don’t believe the polls,” the president said. “I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don’t think that they will put a man in who’s incompetent.”
Trump believes that Bejing should have been more active in letting the world know about the pandemic.
The US president said that the trade deal Washington signed with Bejing aimed at reducing the chronic US trade-deficits with China had been “upset very badly” by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has put in jeopardy Trump’s hopes for a second four-year term. The COVID-19 outbreak has ravaged a formerly humming US economy that had been the president’s main selling point for his re-election campaign in November.
Newly released figures on Wednesday showed the US economy had shrunk by nearly 5% – its sharpest contraction since the Depression.