Trump: US not in a Trade War with China
President Donald Trump said Wednesday the United States is not in a trade war with China, after Beijing announced plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods in response to a similar package announced by the United States.
In a Twitter post Wednesday, Trump contended, "We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.” He added, “Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!"
On the same day, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Bloomberg News, “None of the tariffs have been put in place yet, and these are all proposals.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC, "Even shooting wars end with negotiations. ... So it wouldn't be surprising at all if the net outcome of all this is some sort of negotiation."
Since the start of this week, the United States and China have been engaging in a tit-for-tat trade spat. On Monday, in response to earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed by the Trump administration, China started tariffs of up to 25 percent on 128 U.S. products, including fruits, nuts, pork, wine, steel and aluminum.
Later on the same day, the U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) proposed to increase tariffs on 1,300 imported goods from China, mostly aerospace, medical and information technology products.
Less than 12 hours later, China announced it plans to impose retaliatory duties of 25 percent on 106 politically sensitive American goods, including soybeans, automobiles and aircraft.
Lithuanian Calls Russia’s Military Drills a Direct Military Threat
Lithuania's top diplomat said Russia's live-fire military exercises adjacent to NATO territorial waters of the Baltic Sea are a direct military threat in the guise of routine naval drills.
Russia on Wednesday began the three days of missile tests to the alarm of Latvia, in particular, a NATO member who says the air-and-sea target practice with live munitions forced it to partly shut down civilian airspace and caused neighboring Sweden to reroute air and maritime traffic.
"They do it all the time," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told VOA's Russian Service on Wednesday, referring to Russia's Baltic Sea naval drills that were held four years ago this month, in which smaller naval artillery was tested for all but two of 30 days.
Last week, the U.S. and more than two dozen countries, including the three Baltic states, collectively expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity over the poisoning of a former Russia spy in Britain.
The latest Russian naval drills come a day after President Donald Trump hosted the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, preceded by one day a visit to Latvia by U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. military forces in Europe.