US-China trade war: Trump regrets not being tougher on tariffs

French President Emmanuel Macron, center left, and President Donald Trump, center right, participate in a G-7 Working Session on the Global Economy, Foreign Policy, and Security Affairs the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. Also

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham clarified remarks President Trump made at the G-7 on Sunday regarding the trade war with China, after reports claimed Trump had regrets over his actions.

She said Trump's only regret was not being tougher on China.

"This morning in the bilat with the UK, the President was asked if he had 'any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'” Grisham said in a statement. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

Trump told a reporter earlier in the day, when asked about having any second thoughts on escalating trade tensions with China, "Yeah, sure, why not. Might as well. ... I have second thoughts about everything."

Trump also assured reporters at the G-7 there’s no pressure from allies to give up his trade tactics against China.

“No, not at all,” he said during a breakfast meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “I think they respect the trade war.”

Explaining that he can only speak for the U.S., Trump reiterated his stance that previous presidents’ relations with China “allowed [China] to get away with taking billions of dollars” from the U.S.

The president is emphatic that his strategy with China – the more tariffs the better – is the solid approach in the escalating trade war.

China's Commerce Ministry on Saturday disagreed, releasing a statement describing Trump as a bully.

“Such unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and maximum pressure violates the consensus reached by the head of China and United States, violates the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit and seriously damages the multilateral trade system and the normal international trade order.”

- Statement from the China Commerce Ministry

Trump said Sunday he could declare a national emergency, though he had no plan to do so.

"In many ways, this is an emergency," he said.

The president attended bilateral meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.