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Trade war

Trump rips China's trade practices and seeks 'justice' at UN

President strikes nationalistic note as House launches formal impeachment inquiry

NEW YORK -- U.S. President Donald Trump used some of his harshest criticism yet against China's trade practices in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, vowing not to settle for a partial "bad deal" in trade talks with Beijing.

The stinging language, coming just days after a delegation of Chinese trade officials left Washington, dampened investor sentiment for a trade deal any time soon and sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down over 200 points in Tuesday's trading.

"Not only has China declined to adopt promised reforms, it has embraced an economic model dependent on massive market barriers, heavy state subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping, forced technology transfer and the theft of intellectual property, and also trade secrets on a grand scale," the president said.

"For years these abuses were tolerated, ignored or even encouraged. As far as America is concerned, those days are over."

Trump's remarks came on a day of high political drama. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, launched a formal impeachment inquiry into the U.S. president, accusing him of breaking the oath of office and seeking a foreign country's help ahead of the 2020 election.

In his U.N. speech, Trump reinforced what are likely to be major themes of his 2020 campaign by advocating his administration's "America First" position and rejecting globalism.

"The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots, the future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors and honor the differences that make each country special and unique," he said. 

Trump used an anecdote about American memory chipmaker Micron Technology to condemn China's trade practices. Micron, he said, had chip designs with a value of up to $8.7 billion allegedly stolen by a Chinese state-owned company. The Chinese company soon came out with its own products similar to Micron's, upon which Micron was banned from selling its products in China, Trump said.

"We are seeking justice," the president said. Noting that 60,000 U.S. factories had closed after China entered the World Trade Organization, the president said the WTO "needs drastic change." The second-largest economy in the world "should not be permitted to declare itself a developing country in order to game the system at others' expense."

"The American people are absolutely committed to restoring balance to our relationship with China, hopefully we can reach an agreement that will be beneficial for both countries. But as I have made very clear, I will not accept a bad deal for the American people."

Officials from the U.S. and China met in Washington last week, paving the way for high-level trade negotiations planned for October. This week, Chinese traders bought roughly 600,000 tons of U.S. soybeans, according to Reuters, following an unexpected cancellation of a farmland visit by the Chinese delegation which slimmed the hope of a deal. Since then, officials reportedly said the talks went well and negotiations scheduled for next month remain on track.

Trump also touched on the protests in Hong Kong, calling for protection of freedom and democracy but also said China should handle the unrest itself.

"How China chooses to handle the situation will say a great deal about its role in the world in the future," Trump said. "We are all counting on President Xi [Jinping] as a great leader."

Trump also attacked Iran in his 36-minute speech, calling Tehran a "repressive regime."

"The regime is squandering the nation's wealth and future aid for a fanatical quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. We must never allow this to happen," he said. "All nations have a duty to act. No responsible government should subsidize Iran's bloodlust."

His criticism came after Iran was blamed by the U.S. and other countries for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, which sent shocks throughout the global oil market. The U.S. has placed additional sanctions on Iran's central bank in response to the attacks instead of taking military action. European leaders including Germany, France and the U.K. on Monday joined the U.S. in blaming Iran for the attacks and have called for a new nuclear deal with Iran.

On the topic of world peace, Trump called on North Korea to work toward denuclearization.

"I have told [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un what I truly believe," he said. "Like Iran, his country is full of tremendous, untapped potential. But to realize that promise, North Korea must denuclearize."

Trump also slammed social media companies for moderating their platforms, citing them as "alarming signs and new challenges" to liberty.

"A small number of social media platforms are acquiring immense power over what we can see and over what we are allowed to say," he said. "A faceless bureaucracy operates in secret, and weakens democratic rule... The free society cannot allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people."

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