World

Trump hits out at China, Macron, Democrats and both Koreas

US President criticises different countries and leaders while in London for Nato's 70th birthday

LONDON: US President Donald Trump took on the trade talks with China, French President Emmanuel Macron, Democrats and both Koreas all in one big swipe while in London.

He sent markets spinning when he said a trade agreement with China might have to wait until after the US presidential election in November 2020.

"I have no deadline, no. In some ways, I think it's better to wait until after the election with China," Mr Trump told reporters in London.

Leaders of the 29-member Nato alliance are in Britain's capital for the group's 70th birthday.

"In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now, and we'll see whether or not the deal's going to be right; it's got to be right."

European share prices, US stock futures and the Chinese yuan currency fell on Mr Trump's comments. Investors have been hoping US and China can avert an escalation of their trade tensions.

Mr Trump did not stop there.He told reporters Mr Macron's comments were "very, very nasty" when he lamented the "brain death" of Nato due in large part to a lack of US leadership.

"I think that's insulting to a lot of different forces," Mr Trump said. "You just can't go around making statements like that about Nato. It's very disrespectful."

Mr Trump also criticised Democrats, calling the impeachment push by his rivals "unpatriotic" and "a bad thing for our country."

Mr Trump has criticised Democrats for holding an impeachment hearing while he is abroad.

Mr Trump was adamant the cloud of impeachment was not undercutting his negotiating position on the international stage.

"I know most of the leaders," Mr Trump said. "I get along with them.

"It's a hoax. The impeachment is a hoax. It's turned out to be a hoax. It's done for purely political gain. They're going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020 because otherwise they're going to lose."

On North Korea, he said leader Kim Jong Un "likes sending rockets up, doesn't he?".

"That's why I call him Rocket Man," Mr Trump said.

North Korea fired two short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast last week in the latest test of its large multiple-rocket launcher. It was seen as an effort to remind the US of a year-end deadline Mr Kim has set for Washington to show flexibility in denuclearisation talks.

Mr Trump said he was also pressing ahead with negotiations to get South Korea to pay more US "protection".

Asked if it was in the US' national security interest to have forces stationed on the Korean peninsula, Mr Trump said: "It can be debated. I can go either way. I can make arguments both ways.

"But I do think this, I think if we're going to do it, they should burden-share more fairly." - AP, REUTERS

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