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    Trump blames Obama, Bush, Clinton for making China rich

    President Donald Trump has hit out at the past three presidents for America’s policy on China, accusing his predecessors of allowing the nation to become one of the richest and most powerful in the world.

    Speaking with Fox News’ Steve Hilton in an exclusive interview released Sunday, the president said he would not allow China to become a superpower or eclipse the U.S. on his watch.

    As the trade war between Washington and Beijing escalates, Trump showed no signs of tempering his pugnacious approach to a rising China, vowing once again to address what he considers to be unfair trade practices that have left America with a huge trade deficit.

    Trump blames Obama, Bush, Clinton for making China rich

    In the past, Trump has blamed former President Barack Obama—one of his favored targets and the subject of the birther conspiracy theory propagated by Trump before the former ran for president. But on Sunday, the president suggested America’s China strategy had been wrong for decades.

    “They took advantage of us for many, many years,” he told Hilton. “And I blame us, I don’t blame them. I don’t blame President Xi. I blame all of our presidents, and not just President Obama. You go back a long way. You look at President Clinton, Bush—everybody. They allowed this to happen, they created a monster…We rebuilt China because they get so much money.”

    Trump’s tough stance on China has become one of the hallmarks of his presidency, and shows no sign of diminishing. Last week, tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports came into force, increasing duties from 10 to 25 percent. Trump has ordered Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, valued at around $300 billion.

    The last round of trade negotiation talks between U.S. and Chinese representatives ended with no breakthrough on May 10. According to Trump, an agreement was all but reached, but Beijing withdrew its support at the last moment. “We had a good deal, and at the end, they changed it.” he said. “And I said, that’s OK, we’re going to tariff their products, and we put a 25 percent tariff on their products.”

    Speaking about Chinese President Xi Jinping—who Trump has previously described as a “friend”—the president said, “I told President Xi, who’s somebody I like a lot, but he’s for China and I’m for us, right? But I told him, I said look, this can’t be like a 50/50 deal, this has to be a deal—you are so far ahead from presidents that allowed you to get away.”

    Trump said he was committed to restraining the kind of economic growth that would see China’s economy surpass the U.S. and become the dominant global superpower. “Not going to happen,” Trump suggested, “not going to happen with me.” Asked whether he thought that was Beijing’s ultimate goal, the president replied, “Why wouldn’t it be? I mean they’re very ambitious people, they’re very smart. They’re great people. It’s a great culture, an amazing culture.”

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