White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has clarified US President Donald Trump’s “second thoughts” comment on the US-China trade war, saying that he regretted not raising tariffs on Chinese goods higher.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, however, soon released a statement to reporters, as cited by US media, saying Trump’s words had been misinterpreted and that “President Trump responded in the affirmative – because he [regretted] not raising the tariffs higher”.

Earlier in the day, Trump was asked by reporters during his breakfast meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson whether he had any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China. Trump responded “Yeah, sure. Why not?” and added that he had second thoughts about everything, making it seem that the US president regretted escalating the trade war.

The US president made a statement on 23 August saying that Washington would raise the existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from the current 25 percent to 30 percent on 1 October. In addition, the tariffs would be raised from planned 10 percent to 15 percent on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting from 1 September.

In response, China lodged a protest with Washington over the proposed tariff hikes, noting that such unilateral actions and trade protectionism hurt the international trade system.

Relations between the United States and China have been strained since last year when Washington imposed tariffs on imports from Beijing. China criticized the US move and came up with a set of retaliatory steps that have escalated in a tit-for-tat trade war.

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