Trump: “I do not blame China, or any other country for taking advantage of the United States”

Developments on Day 294 of the Trump Administration:

Trump’s Hard-Line “Economic Nationalism” on Tour

Donald Trump gives a vague but assertive presentation of “America First” trade challenges to other countries, in a speech to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

Taking a tougher line than in his previous stop in China — where he praised leader Xi Jinping and avoide criticism of Beijing while condemning his Presidential predecessors — Trump said:

We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first, the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.

Trump gave few specifics and did not note the role of institutions and accord such as the World Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs in regulating US trade with Asian countries. Nor did he offer any idea of measures beyond his declaration early this year that the Washington will not be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Instead, playing to his supporters in the US, he continued to rail against past Administrations while sparing China — whom he declared last year was “raping” the American economy — from criticism:

The current trade imbalance it not acceptable. I do not blame China, or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs.

I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it.

In contrast to Trump, Chinese leader Xi portrayed an openness to multilateral economic relations:

Against the backdrop of evolving global developments, economic globalization also faces new adjustments both in form and substance. In pursuing economic globalization, we should make it more open, more inclusive, more balanced, more equitable and more beneficial to all.

White House: Trump-Putin Meeting Postponed

The White House said that a discussion between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not take place on the sidelines of the summit.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Regarding a Putin meeting, there was never a meeting confirmed, and there will not be one that takes place due to scheduling conflicts on both sides. There is no formal meeting or anything scheduled for them.”

Russian State media had said the encounter would occur on Friday.

The Kremlin insisted on Friday morning that the meeting would still occur. Spokesman Dmitri Peskov said:

The protocol services are still discussing this. There still is no clarity here. We are receiving contradictory information from our US colleagues. One way or another, the meeting will take place on the sidelines.