US vows tougher approach to China
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — United States national security adviser John Bolton has vowed to further intensify the Trump administration’s tough approach to China, saying Beijing’s “behavior needs to be adjusted in the trade area, in the international, military and political areas.”
Speaking in a radio interview on the “Hugh Hewitt Show” recorded on Thursday and aired on Friday, Bolton said President Donald Trump believes China had taken advantage of the international order for far too long and not enough Americans had stood up to it.
“Now’s the time to do it,” he said.
Bolton said Trump’s tough approach toward China, a country the administration saw as the “major issue this century,” had left Beijing “confused.”
“They’ve never seen an American president this tough before. I think their behavior needs to be adjusted in the trade area, in the international, military and political areas, in a whole range of areas,” he said.
“Perhaps we’ll see at the G20 meeting in Argentina next month Xi Jinping willing to come to talk turkey on some of these issues,” he added.
Bolton’s remarks came amid a series of administration broadsides against China that goes beyond a trade war. These have included accusing Beijing of trying to undermine Trump ahead of next month’s congressional elections and of taking reckless military actions in the South China Sea.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday said Trump would go through with plans to meet Xi at the G20 summit if it looked possible to chart “a positive direction.” He said, however, that re-launching trade talks with China would require Beijing to commit to taking action on structural reforms to its economy.
Bolton called recent Chinese behavior in the South China Sea, where a US warship had a near collision with a Chinese vessel last month, “dangerous” and said the US was determined to keep international sea lanes open.
“This is something the Chinese need to understand,” he said, adding that allies including Britain and Australia were also sailing through the South China Sea to make this point.
“We’re going to do a lot more on that,” he added.