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US-China tensions

Trump gives Oracle blessing as potential TikTok buyer

President says he canceled China trade talks to check on 'phase one' progress

Oracle co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison is known as a rare Trump supporter among Silicon Valley chieftains.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he could see Oracle, "a great company," take over local operations of Chinese social media app TikTok, which has less than a month to find an American buyer or else "close shop."

"I think that Oracle would be certainly somebody that could handle it," Trump said ahead of a rally in Yuma, Arizona, after calling the enterprise software company's co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison a "tremendous guy."

Ellison, the sixth-richest person in the U.S. in Forbes magazine's real-time reckoning, is a vocal supporter of Trump and has helped raise funds for him this year over employees' protests.

Trump's remarks came after a Financial Times report that said California-headquartered Oracle had entered the race to buy TikTok from Beijing-based owner ByteDance.

The Trump administration has issued an order to ban currently unspecified "transactions" with ByteDance in mid-September. The administration has separately ordered ByteDance to unload TikTok in the U.S. by Nov. 12, a deadline that can be extended by 30 days.

Trump reiterated Tuesday that the U.S. Treasury should take a cut of the deal because his administration is "making it possible."

The U.S. president also said he "canceled" trade talks with China, referring to a meeting originally scheduled for last Saturday to review progress on the implementation of the first-phase deal signed in January.

"I postponed talks with China. You know why?" he said. "I don't want to deal with them now. I don't want to deal with them now. With what they did to this country and to the world [by not stopping COVID-19], I don't want to talk to China right now, OK?"

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