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Trump to say in security speech that China is competitor

President Trump will lay out a new U.S. national security strategy on Monday based on his ‘America First’ policy.

The president will, among other items, make clear that China is a competitor, two senior U.S. officials said on Saturday.

Trump has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping while also demanding that Beijing increase pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program and to change trade practices to make them more favorable to the United States.

President Donald Trump is expected to give an ‘America First’ foreign policy address on Monday where he’ll label China a competitor 

President Trump is photographed leaving the White House on Saturday, departing for a weekend away at Camp David where he'll host a number of his cabinet members

President Trump is photographed leaving the White House on Saturday, departing for a weekend away at Camp David where he’ll host a number of his cabinet members

The national security strategy, to be rolled out in a speech by Trump, should not be seen as an attempt to contain China but rather to offer a clear-eyed look at the challenges China poses, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

The Financial Times had first reported that Trump will accuse China of ‘economic aggression,’ in the speech.  

The strategy, which was still being drafted, may also reverse Democratic President Barack Obama’s declaration in September 2016 that climate change is a threat to security, one official said.

On Saturday, President Trump ignored a question about North Korea as he left the White House bound for a weekend at Camp David. 

While Trump is readying a foreign policy speech, he mainly met with cabinet members who deal with domestic matters during the trip. 

At Camp David, Trump entertained Vice President Mike Pence, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, according to the White House pool report.  

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Mnuchin confirmed he had dinner with the president and vice president Saturday night and previewed portions of the president’s speech.

‘He’s excited to give the speech tomorrow,’ Mnuchin said. ‘And China, we are in economic competition with China, the president has said, we don’t have fair trade, we have a trade deficit.’

Host Chris Wallace wondered, however, if labeling China an ‘economic aggressor’ could increase the chances of a trade war.  

‘We want to have a more balanced and fair trade relationship with China,’ Mnuchin argued, saying he couldn’t comment on specifics that are going to be in the speech, but countered Wallace’s question by saying that the aim was to have ‘reciprocal fair trade’ with the country.  

On Monday Trump, a Republican, will lay out his foreign policy priorities, and will emphasize his commitment to ‘America First’ policies.

Those include building up the U.S. military, confronting Islamist militants and realigning trade relationships to make the United States more competitive, the officials said.