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Trump Plans More Actions on China in Coming Weeks to Bind Biden

Mario Parker and Ros Krasny
·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Donald Trump plans several new hard-line moves against China in the remaining weeks of his term, according to a senior administration official, potentially tying the hands of President-elect Joe Biden.

Actions under consideration include protecting U.S. technology from exploitation by China’s military, countering illegal fishing and more sanctions against Communist Party officials or institutions causing harm in Hong Kong or the far western region of Xinjiang, the official said, without providing specifics.

“Unless Beijing reverses course and becomes a responsible player on the global stage, future U.S. presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump’s historic actions,” John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement.

Axios reported earlier that Trump may announce sanctions or trade restrictions against more Chinese companies, government entities or officials, citing human rights violations or threats to U.S. national security. Biden’s transition team said it had no comment for now on the report.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday that “cooperation is the only right way forward.”

“It serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples to ensure a healthy and steady development of China U.S. relations. It’s also what the international community hopes to see,” Zhao said. “China maintains that both sides will benefit from cooperation but lose from confrontation.”

Tougher moves against China have been expected in the waning weeks of Trump’s administration.

Raymond James Financial Inc. analyst Ed Mills wrote in a note published Friday that the financial services firm was bracing for additional executive orders on hard-line positions, made in ways that might be difficult to reverse. That assessment followed Trump’s executive order on Thursday barring American investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the military.

The order prohibits investment firms and pension funds from buying and selling shares of 20 Chinese companies designated by the Pentagon as having military ties in June, as well as an additional 11 companies added in August, Axios reported. It said administration officials were discussing expanding that list.

The Trump administration also faces a mid-December deadline to name and sanction any banks that have business dealings with officials identified as undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.

(Updates with China Foreign Ministry comment.)

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