President Donald Trump has given a new warning to the Chinese communist Party (CCP) that the United States could end commercial ties with Beijing even after his trade representative signaled it is not an option at this point.
“The U.S. certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China [the CCP],” President Trump said in a tweet on Thursday, June 18.
The president renewed his threat one day after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress that he did not see cutting ties between the United States and Chinese economies as a viable option.
In a statement at the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, Lighthizer defended the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal signed earlier this year, saying he hoped Beijing would fulfill its commitments to buy more U.S. goods and services over the next two years.
But Lighthizer said that decoupling the two economies was now impossible.
“Do I think that you can sit down and decouple the United States economy from the Chinese economy? No, I think that was a policy option years ago. I don’t think it’s a … reasonable policy option at this point,” Lighthizer said.
In his tweet Thursday, President Trump sought to let his trade representative off the hook, saying, “It was not Ambassador Lighthizer’s fault (yesterday in Committee) in that perhaps I didn’t make myself clear.”
It was not Ambassador Lighthizer’s fault (yesterday in Committee) in that perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, but the U.S. certainly does maintain a policy option, under various conditions, of a complete decoupling from China. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020
His tweet came one day after the disappointed meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Yang Jiechi—the CCP’s top foreign affairs official.
The Associated Press, citing Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell revealed that the CCP’s attitude in the closed-door meeting in Hawaii “could not be described as really forthcoming” and the atmosphere was “tense.”
Stilwell told reporters that although the CCP had made a “very clear commitment” to following through on the Phase 1 trade deal, there was little sign of progress on other issues of dispute.
According to the diplomat, recent CCP actions, over India, in the South China Sea, and over Hong Kong, have not been constructive and Washington looked forward to seeing the CCP reconsider its plans for the security legislation for Hong Kong.
Among the contentious issues also included is the CCP’s response to the CCP Virus outbreak and its human rights abuses.
Stilwell said Pompeo had made clear to Yang that the relationship must be “more reciprocal” and suggested that the world watch Beijing’s actions over the next several weeks to see if it had understood the message.