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Trump Announces Unprecedented Action against China

Trump Announces Unprecedented Action against China
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By Staff, CNN

US President Donald Trump launched a blistering attack on Beijing Friday, naming misdeeds that range from espionage to the violation of Hong Kong's freedoms, and announced a slew of retaliatory measures that will plunge US-China relations deeper into crisis.

"They've ripped off the United States like no one has ever done before," Trump said of China, as he decried the way Beijing has "raided our factories" and "gutted" American industry, casting Beijing as a central foil he will run against in the remaining months of his re-election campaign.

Trump appeared in the Rose Garden at the end of a week when the US hit 100,000 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic and as massive protests roiled Minneapolis after the death in police custody an African American man, but mentioned neither, focusing instead on casting Beijing as an existential geopolitical threat.

Trump called out China for "espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many," announced steps to protect American investors from Chinese financial practices, accused Beijing of "unlawfully claiming territory in the Pacific Ocean" and threatening freedom of navigation.

He also blasted Beijing for passing a national security law that fundamentally undermines Hong Kong's autonomy, announcing that going forward the US will no longer grant Hong Kong special status on trade or in other areas and instead will apply the same restrictions to the territory it has in place with China.

Trump outlined that the US will strip Hong Kong of the special policy measures on extradition, trade, travel and customs Washington had previously granted it.

Trump announced the US will pull out of the World Health Organization even as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives, claiming that China has "total control" over the organization of 194 member states. He said China had pressured the WHO to "mislead the world" over the origins of the pandemic, which he described as the "Wuhan virus," and said that health funding would be redirected to "other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs."

He said the US would also take action on a number of other fronts, including barring "certain foreign nationals from China" from entering the US and sanctioning officials in China and Hong Kong for their direct or indirect role in "smothering" Hong Kong's freedoms.

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