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Trump says he will not label China a currency manipulator amid rising tensions over N.Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping are seen during a walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 7, 2017. Photo:Carlos Barria/Reuters

US President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that his administration will not label China a currency manipulator, backing away from his campaign promise, amid the country’s ongoing efforts to tackle the nuclear threat from North Korea.
 
The Wall Street Journal paraphrased Trump as saying that the reason that Trump changed his mind on the currency issue was because China has not been manipulating its yuan for months and because taking the step now could jeopardize his talks with Beijing on confronting the threat from North Korea.
 
A US Treasury spokesman confirmed that the Treasury Department's semi-annual report on currency practices of major trading partners, due out later this week, will not name China a currency manipulator, according to Reuters.
 
Since his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly claimed to label China as a currency manipulator for the purposes of a competitive trade advantage, and even declared China the "grand champions" of currency manipulation about two months ago.
 
Trump’s about-face on China’s currency issue follows his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump said he is looking forward to a “very, very great relationship” with his counterpart.
 
Regarding the North Korean nuclear issue, the two leaders also pledged to enhance cooperation, according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a press conference on April 7.
 
The US has consistently urged China to put more pressure on North Korea, while China has repeatedly insisted that it has done a lot to rein in its unruly neighbor, which has accelerated its missile development and nuclear program since 2016.
 
On Tuesday, President Trump once again vented his impatience and concerns over North Korea on his Twitter account, after North Korea fired a ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan on April 5.
 
"I explained to the president of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!" he tweeted. And just four minutes later, the US president wrote in a second tweet, "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A."
 
During a three-nation tour of East Asia in March, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the US would consider military action as an option if the threat of North Korea's weapons program reached a level that threatens the South Korean and American forces.
 
In response to North Korea's latest missile test, the US has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the waters of the Korean Peninsula, increasing concerns over a war in the region.
 
Yesterday, Xi phoned his US counterpart urging a peaceful resolution on the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  
 
According to a statement published on the website China’s foreign ministry, Xi reiterated China's goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and said China is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the US on the issue.


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