Trump says cutting ties with China would save him $500 billion

US President Donald Trump said cutting ties with China would save the country $500 billion, referring to the estimated yearly imports from China.

“There are many things we could do. We could do things. We could cut off the whole relationship,” Trump replied when asked about a Republican senator’s suggestion that the US should not grant visas to Chinese students applying for courses related to national like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. 

“Now, if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion,” Trump said.

Hu Xijin, editor in chief of China’s influential Global Times tabloid, meanwhile ridiculed Trump’s remark. 

“This president once suggested COVID-19 patients inject disinfectants,” Hu said on Twitter. “Remember this, and you won’t be surprised when he said he could cut off the whole relationship with China.”

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business Network China needed to give a lot more information about COVID-19, and Trump was evaluating his options.

“The president is concerned. He’s reviewing all his options. Obviously, we’re very concerned about the impact of this virus on the economy, on jobs, the of the American public, and the president is going to do everything to protect the economy and protect American workers,” Mnuchin said.

“It’s a difficult and complex matter, and the president has made very clear, he wants more information. They didn’t let us in, they didn’t let us understand what was going on, and the public have right to understand all the facts.”

Also read: Trump ‘not happy with China,’ says US may seek damages over virus outbreak

Trump does not want to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping

“They should have never let this happen,” Trump said. “So I make a great trade deal, and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry, and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me.”

“But I just – right now I don’t want to speak to him,” Trump said in the interview, which was taped on Wednesday.

Trump earlier accused China of creating the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Trump stood firm on his claims despite the US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 was “not manmade or genetically modified.”