Carlos Barria | Reuters
President Donald Trump (L) and China’s President Xi Jinping walk along the front patio of the Mar-a-Lago estate after a bilateral meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.
Trump’s latest tweets imply those moves “are just the beginning,” Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told CNBC on Wednesday. “And that we are gearing up for some tariffs against China, with the possibility of a trade war. No question, that’s the big risk here. North Korea’s antics make it worse.”
Recent reports have suggested that the U.S. could put tariffs on steel from China and other major exporters. Trump and some advisors are “hell-bent” on imposing tariffs on steel “and likely other imports,” according to Axios.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Trump’s tweets suggest he is considering new actions against China.
Asked Wednesday about Trump’s calls for China to put more pressure on North Korea, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “We hope all relevant parties can stay calm and exercise restraint, refrain from words and deeds that may heighten tensions, make joint efforts to bring the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue back to the right track of peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible.”
Beijing has incentives to avoid damaging its economic relationship with the U.S. as China was the biggest source of U.S. imports last year.
But China likely wants to protect its trade with the U.S. while aiming not to imperil North Korea, according to Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“China has incentive here not just to see North Korea continue to be an entity, to exist, but also has an incentive to avoid a conflict, to avoid a breakdown in relations with the United States, to avoid all sorts of new economic sanctions,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Wednesday.
It remains to be seen if Trump will try to convince Xi to do more on the North Korea situation at Germany’s G-20 summit. Shortly after the missile launch was first reported, Trump tweeted that “perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”