Trump says he held off Xinjiang sanctions due to trade talks: Report

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump held off on imposing tougher sanctions on Chinese officials blamed for a crackdown on Chinas Uighur Muslim minority because of concern such measures would have interfered with trade negotiations with Beijing, he said in an interview published on Sunday (Jun 21).

"Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal. And I made a great deal, US$250 billion potentially worth of purchases,” Trump was quoted as telling Axios on Friday when asked why he had not enacted Treasury sanctions against Communist Party officials linked to repression in the Xinjiang region.

Advertisement

Advertisement

READ: Trump signs sanctions law over China treatment of Uighurs

The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps there. The State Department has accused China of subjecting Muslims to torture and abuse.

China has denied mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training and help fight extremism.

US officials previously told Reuters that since late 2018 they had weighed sanctions against Chinese officials over Xinjiang but refrained because of trade and diplomatic considerations.

Advertisement

Advertisement

READ: Think-tank report on Uighur labor in China lists global brands

Under a Phase 1 trade deal negotiated in 2019 that took effect in February, China agreed to buy at least US$200 billion in additional US goods and services over two years.

Former national security adviser John Bolton alleges inRead More – Source