Trump turns tough again on trade and vows to put US first

Pres­i­dent warns Asian lead­ers against cor­po­rate es­pi­onage and cy­ber at­tacks against Amer­ica

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Neil Con­nor in Bei­jing and Ben Ri­ley-smith in Wash­ing­ton

DON­ALD TRUMP launched a blis­ter­ing at­tack on “chronic trade abuses” yes­ter­day, warn­ing an au­di­ence of world lead­ers at a summit in Viet­nam that he will al­ways “put Amer­ica first”.

He also re­sumed his tough talk on North Korea as he sought to rally Asi­apa­cific na­tions into con­fronting the “twisted fan­tasies” of Kim Jong-un.

And he came face to face with Vladimir Putin, the Rus­sian pres­i­dent, as the pair shook hands and ex­changed words dur­ing a photo op­por­tu­nity.

Mr Trump was at the Asia-pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (Apec) summit in Danang af­ter ar­riv­ing from China, where he had soft­ened his tone on trade and North Korea.

But speak­ing to a gath­er­ing of chief ex­ec­u­tives yes­ter­day, Mr Trump rea- dopted a tough line as he said Amer­ica will not “be taken ad­van­tage of any longer” with un­equal trade poli­cies.

“We can no longer tol­er­ate these chronic trade abuses and we will not tol­er­ate them,” Mr Trump said.

He went on: “From this day for­ward, we will com­pete on a fair and equal ba­sis. We are not go­ing to let the United States be taken ad­van­tage of any more. I am al­ways go­ing to put Amer­ica first the same way that I ex­pect all of you to put your coun­tries first.”

He named spe­cific prac­tices adopted by Asian coun­tries to­wards Amer­i­can com­pa­nies that he wanted to curb and pledged to tackle the “au­da­cious theft of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty” and the “cy­ber at­tacks” and “cor­po­rate es­pi­onage” be­ing done on be­half of states.

“We will en­cour­age all na­tions to speak out loudly when the prin­ci­ples of fair­ness and rec­i­proc­ity are vi­o­lated,” Mr Trump said.

He also struck a de­fi­ant tone to­wards Py­ongyang, say­ing the re­gion’s fu­ture “must not be held hostage to a dic­ta­tor’s twisted fan­tasies of vi­o­lent con­quest and nu­clear black­mail”.

Dur­ing his China trip, he called on the North to “make a deal”, but also urged China and Rus­sia to in­crease their ef­forts in rein in Py­ongyang.

But in Viet­nam, he re­verted to the more di­rect lan­guage he used in South Korea ear­lier. “Ev­ery sin­gle step the North Korea regime takes to­ward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater dan­ger,” he said.

Mr Trump’s much an­tic­i­pated meet- ing with Mr Putin ap­peared in doubt amid sug­ges­tions the pair would not have time for a one-to-one meet­ing.

The US pres­i­dent has been dogged by claims his elec­tion cam­paign col­luded with the Krem­lin, with three for­mer aides be­ing handed crim­i­nal charges in the last fort­night.

How­ever, the two did share some words as they stood next to each other in blue silk shirts for a group photo.

Sarah Huck­abee San­ders, the White House press sec­re­tary, ini­tially said that a “sched­ul­ing con­flict” meant the two would not be able to meet. But the White House later in­di­cated it was pos­si­ble an un­of­fi­cial meet­ing could take place on the side­lines of the summit, or later when both are in the Philip­pines.

Mr Trump flew to Viet­nam from China with­out Me­la­nia, his wife, who stayed in Bei­jing to visit the Great Wall.

This week­end Mr Trump will visit Ro­drigo Duterte, the fire­brand leader of the Philip­pines, who has just claimed to have once stabbed a teenager to death. “At 16, I killed some­one. We fought and I stabbed him,” he told an au­di­ence of Filipino ex­pats on the mar­gins of the Apec summit.

Don­ald Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin wore tra­di­tional Viet­namese shirts for the ‘fam­ily photo’ at the APEC summit in Danang

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