Trump Ties China Currency Decision to Help With North Korea

President Donald Trump explained the decision to not label China a currency manipulator, which reversed a promise he made during the election campaign, as a function of receiving Beijing’s help in reining in North Korea.

“Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Trump said in a tweet early Sunday to his 28 million followers.

The comment was Trump’s first in response to a failed missile test by North Korea overnight. Spending the weekend at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, Trump also wished a “Happy Easter to everyone!”

The U.S. on Friday stopped short of branding China a currency manipulator in a much-awaited annual foreign-currency report from the Treasury Department. Instead, it urged the world’s second-largest economy to let the yuan rise with market forces and embrace more trade.

Asked what U.S. policy on China’s currency has to do with North Korea, Senator John McCain said “it may be part of the overall relationship” between the U.S. and Beijing.

“China is the key” to a stable North Korea, the Arizona Republican said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Whether they’re currency manipulators or not, we should expect them to act to prevent what could be a cataclysmic event.”

Campaign Promise

Trump may have been boxed in his campaign promises to go after China on trade and currency, and the reality of needing China’s help on regional security problems, said Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, also on NBC.

“With respect to China, you know, their key role in North Korea potentially can’t be sort of jeopardized by going after them as currency manipulators,” Reed said.

Sunday wasn’t the first time Trump has twinned two seemingly separate foreign policy issues.

As president-elect, he rattled Beijing by saying he might use the One-China policy, a bedrock of the U.S.-China relationship, as a bargaining chip.

“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” in December.

In February, Trump told China’s President Xi Jinping that the U.S. would, in fact, honor the decades-old policy.

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