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  1. ITV Report

Has Donald Trump softened his stance on China?

  • Video report by ITV News China Correspondent Debi Edward

Donald Trump has said he does not blame China for its "one-sided and unfair" trading relationship with the United States.

In what appears to be a significant change in tone for the US President, he told a business event in Beijing that he gives China "great credit" for its behaviour.

That's despite taking a hardline stance during the presidential election in 2016, where he accused the Chinese of taking American jobs and American money, and said they had carried out the "greatest robbery in the history of the world".

Donald Trump met Xi Jinping in Beijing. Credit: AP

Speaking at the event, at which he appeared alongside President Xi Jinping, he said:

Both the United States and China will have a more prosperous future if we can achieve a level economic playing field.

Right now, unfortunately, it is a very one-sided and unfair one. But I don’t blame China.

After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.

– Donald Trump

He went on to blame previous administrations for "allowing" the relationship to develop as it had.

The speech came as both presidents signed two-way commercial investment ideals totalling more than $200 billion (£153bn), before leaving without taking any questions from journalists gathered.

Later, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Trump's comments had been "a little bit of tongue in cheek" while also having "a little truth" in them.