Washington: Expressing concern over China's growing military might, US President Donald Trump has said the Communist nation is a threat to the world and blamed his predecessors for not stopping it from stealing America's intellectual property to bolster its defence capabilities.
China hiked its military spending by seven per cent to USD 152 billion as Beijing aims at countering America's push into the disputed South China Sea.
"Obviously China is a threat to the world in a sense because they are building a military faster than anybody and frankly they are using US money," Donald Trump, who was accompanied by visiting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, told reporters in Washington on Friday.
Donald Trump said the US Presidents before him allowed China to take out USD 500 billion a year and more than that. "They have allowed China to steal our intellectual property and property rights and I'm not doing that," he said.
However, President Trump said the two countries were very close to having a trade deal.
"We work very closely, had intellectual property, all of the tough things work negotiated and then at the last moment, they said we cannot agree to this," he alleged, referring to the abrupt collapse of the trade deal with China early this year.
"I said that's all right we are charging you 25 per cent tariffs and then it's going up and it will continue to go up. Frankly we are making so many hundreds of the numbers that we are taking in to our treasury...Look at the great reports that came out two days ago on retailing, on consumers, on numbers that nobody believes," he added.
The world's two largest economies are locked in a trade war since Donald Trump in March last year imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods. In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the US, imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on USD 110 billion of American goods.
The two countries have resumed their trade negotiations.
Donald Trump has said that he will enter into a trade deal with Beijing only if he is confident that it is good for the US.
"We are taking hundreds of millions potentially over a short period of time, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of money is coming in from China that never came in before so China wants to make a deal, I think we want to make a deal," Donald Trump said.
"We will see what happens, but I view China in many different ways, but right now I am thinking about trade. But you know trade equals military because if we allow China to take USD 500 billion out of the hide of the United States that money goes into military and other things," said the US president.
Donald Trump went on to say that "They're having a bad year. Worst year in 57 years. Their tariffs aren't coming into us. We're taking in billions and billions of dollars of tariffs. They are devaluing their currency, which means the tariffs are not costing us probably anything, but certainly not very much. They're also adding a lot of money into their economy. They're pouring money into their economy, but were taking in many billions of dollars," he said.
"At some point in the not-too-distant future, it'll be over USD 100 billion. We've never taken in 100 cents from China. It was always the other way around. With that, they lost over 3 million jobs there. Supply chain is crashing, and they have a lot of problems. And want to make a deal. So, we'll see what happens," Donald Trump said.