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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and an Exchange With Reporters in Biarritz, France

August 26, 2019

President Trump. Thank you very much. It's great to be with Prime Minister Modi of India. Incredible country, and he's an incredible man. Just had a tremendous election victory, and he really is a man who's loved and respected in his country.

We're talking about trade, and we're talking about military. We're talking about many different things, and we've had some great discussions. We were together last night for dinner, and I learned a lot about India. Fascinating place. Beautiful place. And it's an honor to be with you. A real honor.

[At this point, Prime Minister Modi spoke in Hindi.]

Q. Mr. President, can you clarify your position——

[An interpreter translated Prime Minister Modi's remarks into English as follows.]

Prime Minister Modi. Today I'm meeting my friend and the representative of the oldest democracy in the world, President Trump. It's a very important meeting for me. And whenever we've had the opportunity, we've always met.

As you know, India is the largest democracy, and we had elections recently where 700 million Indian voters chose their Government. And President Trump had telephoned me to congratulate me. And again, today, he has conveyed his congratulations. I'd like to thank him for that.

India and the United States are countries who have—which have shared democratic values. And we work for the welfare of the world. And whatever contribution we can make, in whichever way, we have these common values, and we work for the progress of humanity, for the world, for continuous progress. We have continuous discussions on these issues.

India and the United States, we have been discussing on a continuous basis various economic, trade, and commercial relation issues. And on many of these issues, we have welcomed U.S. suggestions. Together, we are working in the area of trade. We are making efforts to take this forward.

The Indian community in the United States has made substantial investments over the years. They have taken a part, very actively, in the development part of the United States. And the way the United States has showered love and has embraced them as their own, for that I would like to thank President Trump, his administration, and the people of the United States.

Kashmir/India-Pakistan Relations

Q. Mr. President, can you clarify your position on whether you will mediate on Kashmir, please?

President Trump. Well, we spoke last night about Kashmir. And the Prime Minister really feels he has it under control. I know they speak with Pakistan, and I'm sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good. We spoke about it last night at great length.

Q. Mr. Modi, do you want to add? Prime Minister Modi. Between India and Pakistan, there are many bilateral issues. And after Minister Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan, I called him up to congratulate him. And I told him that Pakistan needs to fight poverty; India too. Pakistan needs to fight illiteracy; India too. Pakistan needs to fight disease; India too.

And so, together, let us join our forces to fight poverty and all the ills that are facing our two countries. Let us work together to further welfare of the people of our two countries. And this is the message that I keep giving my counterpart in Pakistan. Along with President Trump, we also keep talking about the different bilateral issues between us.

Q. Mr. Modi, would you like to have President Trump be involved in negotiating between Pakistan and India?

Prime Minister Modi. India and Pakistan have—all the issues are of bilateral nature. And we do not want to give pains to any country in the world to, in fact, try to do anything in this, because these issues are bilateral. And I trust that before 1947, when we were one country, that even afterwards, we can find solutions through discussions.

India-Pakistan Relations

Q. Mr. President, is that offer still on the table?

President Trump. I'm here. Look, I have a very good relationship with both gentlemen, and I'm here. If for any reason—but I think they can do it themselves very well. They've been doing it for a long time.

China-U.S. Trade Negotiations

Q. Mr. President, the Chinese have said today publicly that it's more low-level calls that have happened, and they're downplaying the significance of the calls with U.S. administration——

President Trump. I don't know what you mean by that. Low level? The Vice Premier is low level? I don't think so. I mean, it's in your mind they're low level.

What is the position of the gentleman that was quoted in the newspaper today?

Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. Vice Premier Liu He came out with very significant statements, and we've been communicating through intermediaries back and forth with him.

President Trump. He's the Vice Premier of China.

Q. Yes, sir, I understand that.

President Trump. That's not low level.

Q. I understand. I agree. I was just—there was a statement that the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry produced, that they weren't aware——

President Trump. I don't know about a spokesman.

Q. ——of the calls happening.

President Trump. I don't know about a spokesman.

Secretary Mnuchin. There has been communication going on.

President Trump. At the highest level. At the highest level. Okay?

U.S. Economy/Trade Negotiations/U.S. Tariff Structure on Chinese Imports

Q. Can you clarify the calls, Mr. Mnuchin? President Trump. No, I don't want—you'll see what happens.

Secretary Mnuchin. We don't want to go into it. We don't want to go into the details of it.

President Trump. Hey, look, in the meantime, our country is doing great. We're doing great. The Prime Minister just congratulated me. Everybody that's met has congratulated us on the job we're doing in the United States with our economy. Our economy is phenomenal. Best it's ever been. And that's despite the trade deals.

And when the trade deals get done, like we did with Japan, yesterday—we did a really big, tremendous trade deal with Japan. And we have others coming. We're negotiating now, in earnest, with the European Union, and—because they want to do that. They want to do that, and I do too.

So we have—when we get these deals done, this—our country will be transformed. I mean, it will be monetarily transformed. It's such a difference between the horrible, horrible one-sided deals that we had in the past. And frankly, past administrations should be ashamed of themselves for allowing that.

But we have many of them. One of them is the USMCA—Mexico, Canada—and hopefully, that will get voted on very quickly. Everybody wants it to happen. So, hopefully, we can make that a bipartisan bill. But we have many trade deals that are doing very well, and including China.

And I think it was necessary to go through this, you would say, "a rough patch," but I'd say maybe much more than a rough patch, but that's okay, because we've paid billions and billions of dollars. And you know that prices haven't gone up and there's been no inflation and we've put a lot of money in the Treasury. And that—you know, tens of billions of dollars.

And I've given a lot of it to the farmers that were hurt. I've been able to give a lot of money, compliments of China, to the farmers that were hurt, because they were—we gave them $16 billion, and we gave them $12 billion the year before. That made them whole. That was the amount of money that China didn't invest in our—to our farmers—give to our farmers. So the farmers have been amazing, but they're very happy with the job we're doing. But eventually, they're going to be the biggest—or one of the biggest beneficiaries. Okay?

Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit/Environment

Q. Did you attend the climate session?

President Trump. Say it?

Q. Did you make it to the climate session? Were there any conclusions that you took away from it?

President Trump. I'm going to it. In fact, it's going to be our next session. So we haven't had it yet.

Q. Do you have a message that you would like to deliver to——

President Trump. No, I want clean air and clean water. And we're, right now, having the cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet. But that's what I want. I want absolutely clean air and clean water.

China-U.S. Trade Negotiations

Q. Mr. President, just briefly back on China. We saw the comments from Liu He about wanting calm.

President Trump. Calm. Q. Calm. Exactly. Just wondering if you can clarify what you meant about the call. Was that with Mr. Lighthizer or Mr. Mnuchin?

President Trump. I don't want to talk about calls. We've had calls. We've had calls at the highest levels, but I don't want to talk about that.

China-U.S. Trade Negotiations/Political Demonstrations in Hong Kong

Q. But last night—you said last night that there had been a call.

President Trump. But the Vice Chairman put out a statement last night that was a statement and saying that he wants to make a deal and he wants calm. And I think it's a very good word use, "calm." It's not a word that I use that often, but it's a good word to use. And I think it's one of the reasons that's a great country. I mean, they understand.

I think that that message also helps with respect to Hong Kong. I really do. I think it makes it easier for Hong Kong to do something. And I think that President Xi will do something with Hong Kong. I really think that message is a good message with respect to what the ultimate outcome is in Hong Kong.

Very, very positive message. And we appreciated it. We appreciated it.

What else? Anything else?

World Trade Organization

Q. Mr. Trump—Mr. President, what are your latest thoughts on your threat on pulling out of the WTO? And if you do, can I also ask Mr. President Modi what your response to that, in terms of how it will affect India's trade strategy?

President Trump. Well, we haven't been happy with the WTO, but now we're winning cases. We won the big Airbus case, as you know. And it's a tremendous case. I mean, it's billions of dollars. That was a very recent victory. And we're winning cases now. We're being treated more fairly now in the WTO, which we appreciate.

[Prime Minister Modi spoke in Hindi.]

President Trump. He actually speaks very good English. We just don't want to talk about it. [Laughter]

[An interpreter translated Prime Minister Modi's remarks into English as follows.]

Prime Minister Modi. I think—I feel you should let us——

President Trump. That's funny.

Prime Minister Modi. ——discuss these things and when we feel the need, we will communicate to you. [Laughter]

Russia/Group of Seven (G-7) Nations

Q. Mr. President, Russia has just recently said they have no intention of asking to be readmitted to the G-7. However, do you——

President Trump. No, I wouldn't expect they'd ask. Because why would—he's a proud man. He's done a real job. And why would he ask? No, it's something we discussed, and it's under discussion now. No votes or anything. But I would be inclined to say yes, and so would others, and some probably wouldn't be. But it's just a discussion.

No, I wouldn't think that he would do that, because he's a proud man. He wouldn't ask. But if something would happen, he would be asked, and I'm sure he would say yes to that. Q. Do you have any indication from them that they would accept if asked?

President Trump. No, I think it was a very good discussion. It was the initial discussion, but it was a very good discussion. But I think it would be appropriate. I think it was—it would be good for Russia. I think it would be good for everybody. I think it would be a positive. But it's just a discussion that we had. It was a very interesting discussion. And it very—it was pretty even. I think, ultimately, people like the idea.

Group of Seven (G-7) Nations Summit/Media Coverage

Q. Mr. President, what would be your message to the American people in terms of what is your biggest achievement at this G-7?

President Trump. Well, we've had a lot of achievements. We have an achievement with Prime Minister Modi, because we're doing great trade. We're doing a lot of trade with India; that's an achievement.

I think, obviously, the Japan deal is a tremendous achievement, because it's one of the biggest trade deals and it affects directly our farmers. Even the fact that he's taking all of the excess corn that China didn't take—hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of corn—and he's buying that. Japan is buying all of that corn at a fair price. And you know, that was great. So that was very important.

I also think that unity is very important. You know, we had a very good—despite what you read in the newspaper stories, the stories bear no resemblance to what's taking place. You saw me with Chancellor Merkel, you saw me with all of them. We had—the relationship is great. We have seven nations. In addition to that, we have other nations, like India and others that came in. Australia came in—Scott. We have a lot of people came in. And I'll tell you, it's been total unity. And there's been no dissension.

Q. What would be the area of most unity, sir?

President Trump. There's been no dissension. There's been no fights or arguments. There's been no—no anything. I mean, we have—there has been great unity here. And honestly, the papers haven't reported how good it's been.

Q. So what would be your most common ground? You know, is it climate change? Is it gender equality?

President Trump. Oh, oh. I think we have a lot of things. But I think, really, the unity, the fact that we're all getting along so well, I think, is one of the big takes from this. We really have good relationships, and we're doing a lot about a lot, okay?

China-U.S. Trade Negotiations

Q. Just so we get our reporting right, I'm going to give it one more crack on China. When you were referring earlier to Liu He's statement—which we all saw—did you mean to say that there was also a call last night, or was there not actually a call last night?

Secretary Mnuchin. There were discussions that went back and forth. And let's just leave it at that.

President Trump. Last night, and before last night.

Q. Last night?

Secretary Mnuchin. Yes.

Q. With China? President Trump. Last—with China. And before last night. Numerous.

Look, they want to get something done. I've been saying that for a long reason. And we're—why—why wouldn't they? They want to get something done. They've lost millions of jobs. Their supply chains are being hurt. And once those supply chains go, if you're going to develop new supply chains, you can't get them back into China.

So China is run by, really, a great leader. I think he's a great leader. He wants to do something. They lost over 3 million jobs in a very short period of time. A lot of companies have left China, and they're leaving China. They want to get it done. I knew that. I could have told you that without talking, but we are talking.

China-U.S. Trade/U.S. Corporations in China

Q. And would you still like to see U.S. companies leave China?

President Trump. Depends on whether or not we make a deal. If we don't make a deal, I'd like to see them leave China, absolutely. If we make a deal, I'd like to see them stay there and do a great job.


Q. Mr. President, on the Afghanistan peace talks, do you have an updated timeline? Are there any snags?

President Trump. No timeline. Whatever it is. And we're in no rush. I mean, we're there. We're really a police-keeping force more than anything else, frankly. And I've said we can win that war in a very short period of time, but I'm not looking to kill 10 million people, okay?

And we are working along with the Taliban, with the Government, and other people too. And we'll see what happens. No timeline. Okay?

Thank you very much. We're going to be doing a news conference in a little while, so——

Q. Just one more thing. Just one more——

President Trump. If you need one. Do you need one? I don't think you need one.

Q. We'll always take a news conference, sir.

President Trump. I can't imagine any other questions. I just want to thank, though, the Prime Minister.

Q. Would you allow him to have nuclear weapons?

President Trump. This is a great leader right here. A great leader with a great election result.

Q. Would you allow him to have nuclear weapons? Would you allow India to have nuclear weapons?

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. at the Centre de Congrès Bellevue Convention and Exhibition Center. In his remarks, he referred to President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia. Reporters referred to Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang of China; and U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. Prime Minister Modi spoke in Hindi, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and an Exchange With Reporters in Biarritz, France Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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