President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.
In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office, Trump said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for China over the virus.
“I can do a lot,” he said.
Trump, accused of not acting early enough to stop the spread of the virus, has been heaping blame on China for a global pandemic and said he believed China should have been more active in letting the world know about the coronavirus much sooner.
Asked whether he was considering the use of tariffs or even debt write-offs for China, Trump would not offer specifics.
“There are many things I can do,” he said. “We’re looking for what happened.”
“China will do anything they can to have me lose this race,” said Trump.
He said he believes Beijing wants his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, to win the race to ease the pressure Trump has placed on China over trade and other issues.
Trump also said South Korea has agreed to pay the United States more money for a defense cooperation agreement but would not be drawn out on how much.
China has also been criticised by UK and France for a perceived lack of transparency at the start of the outbreak.
There is also scepticism over the country’s death toll, which at about 4,600 is vastly lower than those in European countries and the US.