Trump refuses to rule out war against China over trade deficit

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) March 21, 2016 in Washington, DC.(AFP photo)

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has refused to rule out launching a war against China in order to show Beijing that he is serious about the issue of trade deficit. 

Trump said in an interview with The New York Times on Saturday that his foreign policy would be vague and “unpredictable” in order to have leverage over other countries.

“I would use trade to negotiate. Would I go to war? Look, let me just tell you. There’s a question I wouldn’t want to answer. Because I don’t want to say I won’t or I will or – do you understand that, David?” Trump said, addressing Times reporter David Sanger.

“That’s the problem with our country. A politician would say, ‘Oh I would never go to war,’ or they’d say, ‘Oh I would go to war.’ I don’t want to say what I’d do because, again, we need unpredictability,” he added.

Trump, a billionaire businessman from New York, has maintained that the United States must evolve a strategy to narrow the trade gap with China and bring jobs back to America.

“If they don’t behave,” the Republican front-runner warned during a recent GOP presidential debate, a Trump administration could impose tariffs of 45 percent on Chinese exports to the US.

Trump said on Saturday that democracy was hurting America’s foreign policy because it required politicians to be unambiguous.

“You know, if I win, I don’t want to be in a position where I’ve said I would or I wouldn’t,” the former reality television star said.  

“I don’t want them to know what I’m thinking. The problem we have is that, maybe because it’s a democracy and maybe because we have to be so open – maybe because you have to say what you have to say in order to get elected – who knows? But I wouldn’t want to say. I wouldn’t want them to know what my real thinking is,” he added.

Trump, who has never held elected office, is leading the Republican race despite the fact that his campaign has been marked by controversial statements.

Economists have warned Trump’s pledge of punitive actions against China could backfire, reducing US exports and putting at least one million US jobs at risk.

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