"If China helps us, I feel a lot different toward trade".
A 2013 report by a commission co-chaired by Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and Trump's nominee to be Russian envoy, pegged the losses from U.S. intellectual property theft at hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the U.S. economy millions of jobs.
The former vice president said that Mr. Trump's comments while speaking at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Tuesday were "unwise", but he expressed confidence in Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Trump's latest move does not mean any immediate sanctions on China as is being reported by some media outlets, but might lead to one at the end of the investigation which could take as long as a year.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, bluntly accused China of "stealing our intellectual property"―long a concern of Western companies seeking a share of the enormous Chinese market.
The USTR Robert Lighthizer would consider whether to probe China's trade practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act, senior administration officials said, but they declined to say when the USTR's decision would be made.
The official said Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping about his executive order during their phone call last night. But they may not know that China is forcing and coercing American companies that operate in China to turn over their technology. "The previous three presidents were not able to find an adequate solution [to the North Korea crisis], so he can't be blamed for all this".
Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the U.S. had military options "locked and loaded".
"At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula", Xi said, according to the statement provided by China's government.
"China also funds and facilitates the acquisition of United States firms that possess advanced technologies", the officials said.
Trump, in the past, has tied trade policy to national security. He said it would be premature to speculate on actions that could eventually be taken against China, and added that the issue could be resolved through "negotiated agreement". "Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet. they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk".
If Lighthizer decides to go ahead with an investigation, the U.S. would first consult with China and the investigation process could take as long as a year, officials said.
President Donald Trump, six months into his presidency and facing simmering tensions in Asia, has not only ignored his predecessors, he's rekindled his deep-seeded animosity for the man who handed him the nuclear codes.