In Beijing, Trump declines to hit President Xi Jinping on trade: ‘I don’t blame China’

BEIJING — President Trump lavished praise on Chinese leader Xi Jinping here Thursday, touting “great chemistry” between them while refusing to criticize his counterpart for the trade imbalance that Trump railed against during his campaign.

Speaking at a joint appearance with Xi in front of business leaders, Trump said the U.S. trade relationship with China is “a very one-sided and unfair one.” But, he quickly added: “I don’t blame China. Who can blame a country that is able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens. I give China great credit.”

During the campaign, Trump threatened to label China a “currency manipulator” — even though economic analysts have said Beijing has not artificially inflated the renminbi for years. In his remarks here, Trump reiterated that the United States must “change its policies,” but he offered no details about actions his administration will pursue.

“We’ve gotten so far behind on trade with China and frankly many other countries,” Trump said ahead of a bilateral meeting with Xi, before saying he had “great respect” for Xi for “representing China.”

Trump blamed past administrations “for having allowed it to get so far out of kilter. We’ll make it fair, and it’ll be tremendous for both of us. My feeling toward you is incredibly warm. We have great chemistry. I think we’ll do tremendous things, China

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