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Donald Trump says he doesn't blame Chinafor taking advantage of America


President Donald Trump has criticised the“very one-sided and unfair” trade relationship between the US and China, butstopped short of castigating Chinese President Xi Jinping by saying he doesn'tblame the country for taking advantage of the US.


Speaking after the announcement of newbusiness deals between US and Chinese companies, Trump said the US and China“must immediately address the unfair trade practices that drive” the tradedeficit, along with barriers to market success, forced technology transfers andintellectual property theft.


“But I don't blameChina,” he said. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to takeadvantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens?


To applause, he said: “I give China greatcredit.”


Trump's comments came during his second dayin China and after lengthy meetings with Xi. The day included announcementsthat the US and China had signed agreements valued at more than $250 billionfor products including US-made jet engines, auto parts, liquefied natural gasand beef.


Such contract signings are a fixture offoreign leader visits to Beijing and are intended to defuse foreign complaintsabout China's trade policies. Many of the contracts signed on Thursday appearedto represent purchases that Chinese mobile phone makers, airlines and othercustomers would have made anyway, but the signings were scheduled for Trump'svisit.


Others included a cooperation framework onshale gas and a memorandum of understanding on industrial development.


It's “a way of distracting from the factthat there's been no progress in China on structural reform, market access orthe big issues that the president has tried to make progress on with regard toChina,” said Elizabeth Economy, the Asia studies director at the Council onForeign Relations.

“这是一种转移注意力的方式,因为中国在结构改革、市场准入和那些总统试图取得进展的与中国相关的重大议题上没有取得进展,”外交关系委员会亚洲研究主任Elizabeth Economy表示。

Trump had made narrowing themultibillion-dollar US trade deficit with China a priority for hisadministration. During the presidential campaign, he accused China of “rapingour country” on trade and pledged to minimise the countries' trade imbalance.


China's trade surplus with the UnitedStates in October widened by 12.2 percent from a year earlier, to $26.6billion, according to Chinese customs data released on Wednesday. The totalsurplus with the United States for the first 10 months of the year rose to $223billion.


For his part, Xi promised a more openbusiness environment for foreign companies in China and said his country wascommitted to further opening its economy to foreign investment. He offered nospecifics.


“China will not closeits doors” and will open them “even wider,” he said, pledging that foreigncompanies in China, including American ones, will find the market “more open,more transparent and more orderly.”


The United States and other tradingpartners have been pressing Beijing to give their companies more access to itsstate-dominated economy.


Before the meetings, China rolled out thered carpet for Trump, treating him to an elaborate welcome ceremony on theplaza outside the Great Hall of the People before the leaders turned to theirprivate talks.


Trump looked on approvingly as a Chinesehonour guard played the national anthems of both countries, cannons boomed andsoldiers marched. He clapped and smiled as children waving US and Chinese flagsand flowers screamed and jumped wildly.


China also poured on the pomp and pageantryfor Trump's arrival on Wednesday. The President and First Lady Melania Trumpwere greeted at the airport by dozens of jumping children who waved US andChinese flags. The couple spent the first hours of their visit on a privatetour of the Forbidden City, Beijing's ancient imperial palace. It's usuallyteeming with tourists but was closed to the public for the presidential visit.


The Trumps walked alongside Xi and his wifethrough the historic site and admired artefacts from centuries' past. Trumpposed for photos and, with a wave of his hand, joked to Xi about the reporterswatching. And he laughed and clapped along during an outdoor opera featuringcolourful costumes, martial arts and atonal music.