Aug. 14 (UPI) — China said bilateral trade relations with the United States have no connection to North Korea issues, ahead of a possible announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump on Chinese trade practices.
Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday not only are issues pertaining to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development irrelevant to U.S.-China trade, but linking the two concerns would create losses on both sides, Sina.com reported.
China is the United States’ largest trading partner.
Hua also defended China’s intellectual property rights record and said all World Trade Organization members should comply with WTO standards.
In early August, The New York Times reported Washington was planning to open a probe into Chinese trade practices that include alleged violations of U.S. intellectual property.
The United States is growing increasingly frustrated with provocations from North Korea, and with Chinese efforts on sanctions against Pyongyang.
Trump may also call for investigations into China’s alleged forced transfer of U.S. technology.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to launch a section 301 probe, the BBC reported.
The move would give Trump free rein to impose unilateral tariffs that could protect U.S. industries.
Although China warned the United States on Monday against mixing trade with geopolitics, Beijing has yet to follow its own advice.
China continues to oppose the deployment of U.S. missile defense in South Korea, and has boycotted several South Korean firms, including Lotte, the conglomerate that allowed the placement of THAAD on a former golf course.