Photo of Donald Trump

Interview with Lionel Barber, Demetri Sevastopulo and Gillian Tett of The Financial Times

April 02, 2017

FT: You are the master of 'the art of the deal'...can you cut a deal with Xi Jinping when you see him in Mar-a-Lago?

THE PRESIDENT: I have great respect for him. I have great respect for China. I would not be at all surprised if we did something that would be very dramatic and good for both countries and I hope so.

FT: Are you going to talk about North Korea and a way forward there?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we will talk about North Korea. And China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone.

FT: What is the incentive?

THE PRESIDENT: I think trade is the incentive. It is all about trade.

FT: How do you bring China's trade surplus down quickly?

THE PRESIDENT: By telling China that we cannot continue to trade if we are going to have an unfair deal like we have right now. This is an unfair deal.

FT: Are you going to equalise tariffs?

THE PRESIDENT:
I don't want to talk about tariffs yet, perhaps the next time we meet. So I don't want to talk about tariffs yet. But you used the word equalise. That is a very good word because they are not equalised. If you used a word other than tariff, it is not an equal. You know when you talk about, when you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations, they are world champions. And our country hasn't had a clue, they haven't had a clue. The past administration hasn't had and many administrations — I don't want to say only Obama; this has gone on for many years — they haven't had a clue. But I do.

FT: How ambitious do you want to be with China? Could we see a grand bargain that solves North Korea, takes American troops off the Korean peninsula and really changes the landscape out there?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.

FT: And do you think you can solve it without China's help?

THE PRESIDENT: Totally.

FT: One on one?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't have to say any more. Totally.

FT: Do you start with North Korea and talk about trade, or pivot around?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East. Where they say — I used it in the speeches — 'We will be attacking Mosul in four months'. A month later, 'We will be attacking Mosul in three months, in two months, in one month'. And why are they talking? There is no reason to talk.

Donald J. Trump, Interview with Lionel Barber, Demetri Sevastopulo and Gillian Tett of The Financial Times Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/368922

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