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Trump May Roll Out Probe Into China and Intellectual Property Theft

Trump May Roll Out Probe Into China and Intellectual Property Theft

Trump planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China's support for expanded United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said.

It is understood the White House delayed the announcement as it sought China's help with the North Korea crisis.

US President Donald Trump is tomorrow to call for his chief trade adviser to investigate China's intellectual property practices, Web site Politico reported, citing an unnamed administration official.

The move, which could eventually lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods, comes at a time when Trump has asked China to do more to crack down on North Korea's nuclear missile program as he threatens possible military action against Pyongyang.

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The Chinese frigate "called and said 'Please turn around, you are in our waters, '" a USA defense official told the Guardian . The expert also shared his thought on the possibility of an open military confrontation in the South China Sea.

But a senior administration official said that concerns over China's trade practices have been longstanding, and that the president's memo was unrelated to efforts to put pressure on Beijing over North Korea.

Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping during a phone call on Friday night of the upcoming memorandum, a senior administration official told CNN Friday.

Officials at the White House and Lighthizer's office were not immediately available for comment.

"President Trump and President Xi agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior", the statement said.

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Trump wants government officials to look at Chinese practices that force American companies to share their intellectual property in order to gain access to the world's second-largest economy. This past week, Trump said he could soften his views on trade if China stepped up its assistance, leading to speculation that the investigation could be a negotiating tactic.

Trump's call with Xi and his potential plans to open the broad trade investigation come against the backdrop of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Lighthizer can do so under Section 302 (b) of the Trade Act of 1974, which outlines the process by which USTR can initiate an investigation "by means other than petition", a senior official told reporters on August 12. They know how I feel.

The trade investigation could strain relations between the US and China as the two countries wrestle with the unpredictable situation over North Korea.

"We're at the beginning of this process and no firm decisions have been made as to how that is going to work in terms of whether we would pursue WTO action or action outside the WTO", the first administration official said.

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The US military has a presence on the Korean Peninsula, and in Japan and in its prefectures, such as Okinawa. As part of its defenses on Guam , the U.S. installed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in 2013.

In addition to the U.S., the European Union, Japan, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern about China's behaviour on IP theft. The technology sector has been especially hard-hit in intellectual property disputes.