Trump's probe on China intellectual property theft could spur change

US activist Gloria Steinem, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates Leymah Gbowee, from Liberia with other activists march to the Imjingak Pavilion along the military wire fences near the border village of Panmunjom

President Trump to launch investigation into China trade violations

In China, these proposed measures were seen as an attempt to pressure Beijing to act more strongly against North Korea and, at the same time, as an effort to shift the blame for the world's failure to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs onto China alone.

"This is just the beginning", Trump said at the White House Monday.

China has announced it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron ore and other key goods in three weeks under United Nations sanctions imposed over the North's nuclear program.

The softened language in Monday's order is the second time in as many weeks that Trump has agreed to changes to ease the potential backlash from China.

Trump, in the midst of a 17-day vacation, left his New Jersey golf club to return to the White House to sign an executive action on the probe.

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Chinese laws require foreign firms in some industries, such as energy and autos, to form joint ventures with local partners, which often results in the transfer of technology to Chinese companies.

Although Trump constantly criticized China's trade practices on the campaign trail, his administration has not taken direct action against Beijing. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before Trump's formal announcement.

"I think China can do a lot more", Trump told reporters Thursday.

"It's not going to continue like that", Trump said. But Beijing is increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang and joined in approving a UN Security Council ban on August 5 on coal and other key goods.

The Commerce Ministry announced a ban on imports of iron ore, iron, lead and coal from North Korea effective Tuesday - although China will continue to clear goods that have already arrived in port until September 5.

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"After that, entry of these goods will be prohibited", said an agency statement.

In a report published this year, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property named China as the main offender, estimating it costs the US economy up to $600 billion a year.

The war of words has sparked global concern, with world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping urging calm on both sides in a phone call with Trump over the weekend.

Strongly reacting to this, Trump had said that USA will retaliate with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States or its allies.

Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven't been delivered on deadline.

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