PRES­I­DENT DON­ALD TRUMP CLAIMS CHINA’S HAN­DLING OF THE PAN­DEMIC IS PROOF THAT BEI­JING “WILL DO ANY­THING THEY CAN” TO MAKE HIM LOSE HIS RE-ELEC­TION BID. HE ALSO BE­LIEVES CHINA WANTS JOE BI­DEN TO WIN.

Bei­jing hop­ing for Bi­den win, pres­i­dent al­leges

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - STEVE HOLLAND

WASH­ING­TON • U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he be­lieves China’s han­dling of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic is proof that Bei­jing “will do any­thing they can” to make him lose his re-elec­tion bid in Novem­ber.

In an in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day, Trump talked tough on China and said he was look­ing at dif­fer­ent op­tions in terms of con­se­quences for Bei­jing over the virus.

Trump has been heap­ing blame on China for a global pan­demic that has killed at least 62,000 peo­ple in the United States, and thrown the U.S. econ­omy into a deep re­ces­sion, putting in jeop­ardy his hopes for an­other four-year term.

The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent, of­ten ac­cused of not act­ing early enough to stop the spread of the novel coro­n­avirus, said he be­lieved China should have in­formed the world about the virus ear­lier.

Asked whether he was con­sid­er­ing the use of tar­iffs or even debt write­offs for China, Trump wouldn’t of­fer specifics. “There are many things I can do,” he said. “We’re look­ing for what hap­pened.”

Trump said he be­lieves Bei­jing wants his Demo­cratic op­po­nent, Joe Bi­den, to win the elec­tion to ease the pres­sure Trump has placed on China over trade and other is­sues. In Bei­jing, China’s for­eign min­istry said it has no in­ter­est in in­ter­fer­ing in the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Trump said the Phase 1 trade deal he con­cluded with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping aimed at re­duc­ing chronic U.S. trade deficits with China had been “up­set very badly” by the eco­nomic fall­out from the virus, which first sur­faced in China late last year.

Trump also said South Korea has agreed to pay the U.S. more money for a de­fence co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment, but he would not be drawn out on how much. “We can make a deal. They want to make a deal,” Trump said.

The U.S. sta­tions roughly 28,500 troops in South Korea, a le­gacy of the 19501953 Korean War that ended in an armistice.

Trump is lead­ing an ef­fort to try to keep the U.S. econ­omy afloat through stim­u­lus pay­ments while nudg­ing state gov­er­nors to re­open their states.

Trump’s han­dling of the virus has come un­der scru­tiny. Forty-three per cent of Amer­i­cans ap­proved of Trump’s han­dling of the coro­n­avirus out­break, ac­cord­ing to the Reuters/ip­sos poll from April 27-28.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

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