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Trump says he delayed China talks, faults Beijing over virus

Justin Sink
Bloomberg

President Donald Trump said he called off last weekend’s trade talks with China and that Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus is “unthinkable.”

“I canceled talks with China,” Trump said Tuesday in Yuma, Arizona. “I don’t want to talk to China right now.”

In this June 29, 2019, file photo President Donald Trump, left, poses for a photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Trump has been stepping up complaints about China, particularly over the spread of the coronavirus, which he regularly calls the “China Virus.”

“What China did to the world was unthinkable,” Trump said.

The trade talks had been aimed at reviewing progress at the six-month mark of the so-called “phase-one” trade agreement between the two countries. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was supposed to hold a video conference call with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin but it was postponed indefinitely.

The talks never made it on to any official public calendar in Washington or Beijing, but the South China Morning Post reported that they were set for Saturday. Earlier, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that information on high-level talks will be released “in due course.”

Addressing whether the U.S. would pull out of the phase-one deal, Trump said: “We’ll see what happens.”

2020 Bloomberg L.P.