13 August, 2017
Such an investigation easily could last a year.
Trump recently expressed frustration with China, North Korea's main trading partner, over a lack of progress on reining in Pyongyang's nuclear aspirations.
"It wasn't just the Obama administration, the Bush administration, the Clinton administration tended to do that as well", said Bown, adding that previous USA administrations have successfully used the WTO to get other countries to change their policies that were breaking the rules. They were not authorized to publicly discuss the private call and spoke on condition of anonymity.
In addition to the USA, the EU, Japan, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern about China's behavior on intellectual property theft. Many U.S. businesses must create joint ventures with Chinese companies and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice that Washington says stifles U.S. economic growth.
The USTR Robert Lighthizer would consider whether to probe China's trade practices under Section 301 of the Trade Act, senior administration officials said, but they declined to say when the USTR's decision would be made.
Apple, which has a turnover of more than US$30 billion a year in China, is now subject to several measures taken by Beijing that hinder its activities in the country.
It wasn't immediately clear how China would react to the move.
While Beijing has promised to open more industries to foreign companies, it also has issued new rules on electric auto manufacturing, data security, internet censorship and other fields.
Trump will make a day trip to Washington, D.C., on Monday, briefly interrupting his 17-day August working vacation, a White House official said on Friday.
As the crisis has unfolded, Trump has alternated praising China for its help and chiding it for not ratcheting up pressure on its Asian neighbor. "They know how I feel", Trump told reporters on Thursday. "But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade - a lot differently toward trade".
However, Bown was anxious that the Trump administration "hasn't really yet identified a strategy to engage China on the long-term systemic sort of talks" as they seemed much focused on "getting quick wins".
Xi urged both sides not to do anything that would aggravate tensions. During the call, Trump and Xi agreed North Korea must stop its "provocative and escalatory behavior", and reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, according to a White House statement.
In a statement Saturday, Macron said the situation "undermines the preservation of worldwide peace" and the North Korean regime "poses a serious threat to the security of its neighbors". In April, he said he wouldn't label China a currency manipulator, in return for help in dealing with North Korea.
If Lighthizer decides to go ahead with an investigation, the U.S. would first consult with China and the investigation process could take as long as a year, officials said.
The paper said, "The powerful revolutionary Paektusan army of the DPRK, capable of fighting any war the USA wants, is now on the standby to launch fire into its mainland, waiting for an order of final attack".
"The United States government can, and does, work with countries to address serious concerns such as North Korea while also pursuing measures to address economic concerns, such as the theft of U.S. intellectual property", a U.S. National Security Council official said.