-- President Trump has long accused China of perpetrating one of the “greatest thefts in the history of the world" when it comes to trade with the U.S. and promised he would have his Treasury secretary label China a currency manipulator.
But while visiting China this week, Trump took a softer line and said the country was not responsible for trade imbalances with the U.S.
“I don’t blame China,” Trump said Thursday in Beijing. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country to the benefit of its citizens?”
Instead, Trump pointed the finger at his predecessors for “allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow.”
Trump’s visit follows a presidential campaign in which he criticized China's business practices and how it handles trade with the United States. He has made China the target of more than 200 of his tweets over the years.
One the flip side, however, Trump said at a 2016 campaign rally that “I love China” and that he has made lots of money doing business with the country.
Here are some of the unconventional slights Trump has either said, written or tweeted about China in the past:
Twitter - March 30, 2013
“China is the biggest environmental polluter in the World, by far. They do nothing to clean up their factories and laugh at our stupidity!”
Campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Ind. - May 2, 2016
On China’s trade policies
"We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.”
Twitter - Sept. 21, 2011
“China is neither an ally or a friend -- they want to beat us and own our country.”
Campaign rally in Manchester, N.H. - June 20, 2016
“The single biggest weapon used against us and to destroy our companies is devaluation of currencies, and the greatest ever at that is China. Very smart, they are like grand chess masters. And we are like checkers players. But bad ones.”
Twitter - Aug. 8, 2012
“No surprise that China was caught cheating in the Olympics. That's the Chinese M.O. - Lie, Cheat & Steal in all international dealings.”
'Good Morning America' interview - Nov. 3, 2015
"But when you see China, these are fierce people in terms of negotiation. They want to take your throat out, they want to cut you apart. These are tough people. I've dealt with them all my life."