US Reserves Option to Completely Decouple From China, Trump Says

June 18, 2020 Updated: June 19, 2020

President Donald Trump on June 18 said the administration maintains the option to completely decouple from China, amid souring relations between the world’s two largest economies.

The Trump administration has recently ratcheted up rhetoric and actions against the regime on multiple fronts including on Beijing’s mishandling of the CCP virus outbreak, its crackdown on Hong Kong, and Chinese firms posing security risks.

Referring to the U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer’s remarks on China during a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, Trump wrote on Twitter: “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!”

President Donald Trump walks off Marine One in Washington on May 30, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

During the hearing, Lighthizer had said, “Do I think that you can sit down and decouple the United States economy from the Chinese economy now?… That was a policy option years ago, but I don’t think it’s a policy or reasonable policy option at this point. I think you will see supply chains come back as a result of U.S. policy.”

Trump and U.S. officials have been strident in their criticism of Beijing over its coverup of the CCP virus outbreak, which has caused the global spread of the disease. In May, the president indicated the United States “could cut off the whole relationship” with China.

The administration is also reportedly accelerating plans to lure U.S. companies to move their manufacturing out of China after the pandemic exposed the dangers of supply chain dependence on China.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii. Pompeo, in a tweet the next day, said Yang “recommitted to completing and honoring all obligations” of the phase one trade deal between the two countries.

During the House hearing yesterday, Lighthizer also denied claims by former national security adviser John Bolton that Trump sought Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s help to win re-election during trade talks on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in June 2019.

“Absolutely untrue, never happened. I was there, I have no recollection of that ever happening,” Lighthizer said. “I don’t believe it’s true, I don’t believe it ever happened.”

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