WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to impose large tariffs on $300 billion in imports if Chinese leader Xi Jinping did not meet with him in Japan later this month, showing how he plans to immediately pivot from his trade war with Mexico back to Beijing.
Trump, in a wide-ranging and apparently impromptu interview with CNBC, said he was “scheduled to have a meeting” with Xi during the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, but Chinese officials have refused to publicly confirm the gathering.
“We do not want a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting one,” said Geng Shuang, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “If the U.S. is ready to have equal consultations, our door is wide open. But if it insists on escalating trade frictions, we will respond to it with resolution and perseverance.”
If Xi doesn’t meet with him, Trump said that he will move forward with tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports, which includes numerous consumer products.
“China is going to make a deal because they are going to have to make a deal,” Trump said.
The interview signaled that Trump plans to use the same adversarial approach with