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Trump says he had to ‘take China on,’ regardless of short-term impact on U.S. economy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had to confront China over trade even if it caused short-term harm to the U.S. economy because Beijing had been cheating Washington for decades.

Trump’s strongly worded comments came hours before his government announced approval of an $8 billion sale of Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, a move sure to draw Beijing’s ire and further dim prospects for a quick trade deal.

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On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence had also poked China on another sensitive topic, Hong Kong, calling on Beijing to respect the integrity of the former British colony’s laws in its response to mass protests there.

Somebody had to take China on,This is something that had to be done. The only difference is I am doing it,

Trump told reporters during a White House visit by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, when asked about wide-ranging tariffs he has imposed on imports from China.

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