Trump ramps up anti-China rhetoric as Presidential elections loom

With the U.S. Presidential election campaign likely to get into full swing in coming months, Donald Trump has ramped up his anti-China rhetoric, claiming to have seen "evidence" that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Technology, and threatening headline grabbing tariffs as high as $1 trillion.

When asked by a reporter to divulge the nature of the evidence the president replied "I can't tell you that. I am not allowed to tell you that."

He did, however, confirm that the suggested tariffs would be intended to affectively cancel out the U.S. debt owned by China: when asked if he would consider refusing to pay the country's debts as punishment for unleashing the virus on the world, the president said he "could do it differently" before going on to reveal his intentions.

"I could do the same thing but even for more money just putting on tariffs," he said.

"So I don't need to do that. It's approximately a trillion dollars - a little bit more I understand but we can do that in probably a little bit more of a forthright manner."

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China, as of January of this year, owns some $1.1 trillion of U.S. debt, slightly more than that owned by Japan, although the latter is perceived as a friendly partner - indeed, by many Americans, a client state - and so the fact is less newsworthy.

Total debt owed by federal, state and local governments was $23.4 trillion as of March 17th, although this figure excludes highly significant unfunded future liabilities.

Image: White House.

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