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‘I could declare a national emergency’

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SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — President Donald Trump said Sunday he could declare the escalating U.S.-China trade war as a national emergency if he wanted to.

“In many ways this is an emergency,” Trump said at the G-7 leaders meeting of the ongoing trade battle between the world’s top two economies.

“I could declare a national emergency, I think when they steal and take out and intellectual property theft anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year and when we have a total lost of almost a trillion dollars a year for many years,” Trump said, adding that he had no plan right now to call for a national emergency.

“Actually we are getting along very well with China right now, we are talking. I think they want to make a deal much more than I do. I’m getting a lot of money in tariffs its coming in by the billions. We’ve never gotten 10 cents from China, so we will see what happens.”

Trump’s comments come as he met with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson kicking off Group of 7 meetings in the French seaside town of Biarritz.

Clouding the G-7 gathering, which represents the world’s major industrial economies, are the tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing.

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the G7 summit on August 25, 2019 in Biarritz, France.

Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

On Friday, Trump said he would raise existing duties on $250 billion in Chinese products to 30% from 25% on Oct. 1. What’s more, tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods, which start to take effect on Sept. 1, will now be 15% instead of 10%.

When asked if Trump had second thoughts about Friday’s move to escalate the trade war with China, Trump said “Yup.” “I have second thoughts about everything,” he added.

Trump then dismissed concerns that leaders at the G-7 and other U.S. allies would pressure him in ending the trade war with China.

“I think they respect the trade war, it has to happen. China has been, well I can only speak for the United States, I can’t say what they are doing to the U.K. and other places, but from the standpoint of the United States what they’ve done is outrageous that presidents and administrations allowed them to get away with taking hundreds of billions of dollars out every year and putting it into China,” Trump said.

“Our country is doing really well, we had horrible trade deals and I’m straightening them out. The biggest one by far is China,” he added.

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US warnings about China are lies, Foreign Minister Wang says

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes a speech during the 56th Munich Security Conference at Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany on February 15, 2020.

Abdulhamid Hosbas | Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

MUNICH — China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that U.S. criticisms of Beijing were “lies” and blamed Washington for the tumultuous relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

“The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the U.S. does not want to see rapid development and rejuvenation of China, still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country, but that is not fair, China has the right to develop,” Wang said during a discussion at the Munich Security Conference.

“China’s drive towards modernization is an inevitable trend of history and will not be held back or stopped by any force in the world because it represents the direction of human progress,” he added.

Wang’s comments at the Munich Security Conference followed those of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, both delivering back-to-back speeches accusing China of malign activities.

“China encroaches on the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. And on that point, China has had a border or maritime dispute with nearly every nation bordering it,” Pompeo told an audience at the security forum. “And let’s talk for a second about the other realm, cybersecurity. Huawei and other Chinese state-backed tech companies are Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence,” he added.

Esper said Beijing was caring out a “nefarious strategy” through telecommunications firm Huawei. “It is essential that we as an international community wake up to the challenges presented by Chinese manipulation of the long-standing international rules-based order,” he warned.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks at Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020.

Munich Security Conference | Kuhlmann

When asked about the speeches made by Pompeo and Esper, Wang dismissed U.S. criticisms and said that Beijing would continue to seek a better relationship with Washington.

“This has become a common scenario, they say basically the same thing everywhere they go about China, and I don’t want to waste our time responding to each and every thing they’ve said. The thing I want to say is that all these accusations against China are lies and not based on facts,” Wang said of Pompeo and Esper’s comments.

“The most important task for China and the U.S. is to sit down together, have a serious dialogue and find a way for two major countries with different social systems to live in harmony and interact in peace. China is ready and we hope the U.S. will work with us in the same direction,” he added.

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Coronavirus live updates: Taiwan confirms first death

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Excited passengers disembark from the MS Westerdam, which is now docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The cruise ship arrived in Cambodia on February 14, 2020 after being stranded for two weeks

Paula Bronstein | Getty Images

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

All times below are in U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

China’s National Health Commission reported that there were 2,009 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 142 additional deaths as of Feb. 15. The total number of cases in mainland China has reached 68,500, and the total deaths has reached 1,665, according the latest statistics from the commission on Sunday.

6:21 am: Taiwan confirms death of man with no known history of travel to China

Taiwan said a man in his 60s with a history of hepatitis B and diabetes has died of the virus. It’s the first death on the island. The man died Saturday after nearly two weeks in a hospital, but does not have a known history of traveling to China.

Health officials are investigating how he became infected. Taiwan has 20 confirmed cases of the virus.

3:40 am: American from cruise ship tests positive for second time in Malaysia

An 83-year-old American woman who was previously aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship in Cambodia last week has tested positive for the virus a second time since flying back to Malaysia, officials there said on Sunday. She was one of 2,257 passengers and crew onboard at sea for nearly 14 days, and the first to test positive for the virus.

Officials said that more than 140 of the passengers on the ship traveled through Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport, and all but eight traveled on to destinations in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

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Libya arms embargo a ‘joke,’ says UN official

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A fighter loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government (GNA) gestures during a clash with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar at the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya May 21, 2019.

REUTERS | Goran Tomasevic

Violations of an arms embargo in Libya have become a joke and it is imperative that those who breach it are held to account, a senior U.N. official said on Sunday.

“The arms embargo has become a become a joke, we all really need to step up here,” U.N. Deputy Special Representative to Libya Stephanie Williams told a news conference in Munich.

“It’s complicated because there are violations by land, sea and air, but it needs to be monitored and there needs to be accountability.”

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