WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Thursday accused China of thinking Americans are "stupid" and vowed that he was ready to inflict economic pain on the Asian power.
"They lived too well for too long and, frankly, I guess they think that the Americans are stupid people. Americans are not stupid people," the outspoken mogul-turned-president told "Fox and Friends."
Trump boasted that the $250 billion in tariffs he has slapped on Chinese products have "had a big impact."
"Their economy has gone down very substantially," he said. "I have a lot more to do if I want to do it. I don't want to do it but they have to come to the table."
Trump is pressing China to improve trading conditions for US products and to end what US businesses say is widespread theft of their intellectual property.
China has responded by imposing countertariffs, which the Trump administration alleges show political interference by targeting products from key states in next month's congressional elections.
The International Monetary Fund this week cited the trade war as it lowered its 2019 growth forecast for China, which is set to see its slowest expansion since 1990, but also lowered estimates for the United States and the global economy as a whole.
Trump renewed his charge that past presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush "let China get out of control."
"We are not going to pay $500 billion a year to China and rebuild China," Trump said, likely referring to the total annual imports of Chinese goods into the United States.
"We have helped rebuild China more than any other factor. We have helped rebuild it. I said it's over."
The undiplomatic language comes as disputes mount in numerous areas between China and the United States, ending the early bonhomie between Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping.
US authorities on Wednesday said they arrested an alleged Chinese intelligence agent for plotting to obtain trade secrets from GE Aviation and other companies.