The commander-in-chief made the admission while speaking to CBS News Tuesday, after being asked about the likelihood of a phase two trade deal with China.
“I’m not interested right now in talking to China,” Trump told the network.
“We made a great trade deal, but as soon as the deal was done, the ink wasn’t even dry and they hit us with the plague. So right now I’m not interested in talking to China about another deal,” he continued before adding, “I’m interested in doing other things with China.”
Trump signed phase one of the deal with China in January, ending a bitter trade war between the two countries that took place amid months of tense negotiations.
In the months since, the relationship has frayed as the Communist nation has faced a wave of international scrutiny for its lack of transparency at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.
Asked by CBS News how he planned to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the pandemic, the president said “You’ll see” repeatedly.
Trump doubled down that same day, telling a reporter during a White House news briefing that he had no plans to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“No, I haven’t spoken to him. I have no plan to speak to him,” he said at the time.
Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act at the White House Tuesday, which slapped sanctions on Chinese officials over a new national security law.
The law authorizes sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for a free speech crackdown and their bankers, though the president also signed an executive order to end Hong Kong’s special treatment under US law.
“Their rights have been taken away and with it goes Hong Kong, in my opinion, because it will no longer be able to compete with free markets,” Trump declared during a Rose Garden ceremony.
While the US and China are in less-frequent communication, China appears to have found a new ally in a US adversary: Iran.
China and Iran are reportedly in the final stages of negotiating an economic and security partnership that could mean billions of dollars in investments for Tehran, according to the New York Times.
Through the agreement, Beijing would provide massive investments in banking, telecommunication, ports and railways — a huge boost for the Islamic Republic’s teetering economy — in exchange for Iran supplying oil to China over the next 25 years, according to a draft of the 18-page proposal obtained by the paper.
Any agreement between the two countries would be a blow to the Trump administration, which has sought to isolate Iran after withdrawing from the Obama-era nuclear deal in 2018.