Trump says he delayed sanctions on Chinese officials involved in detention camps to avoid interfering with the trade deal.

Trump said in an interview with Axios that the reason he had not retaliated against Chinese Communist Party officials or companies for the Beijing internment camps that are used to support Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities was not to upset the negotiations.

“Well, we were in the midst of a major trade deal. And I did a great deal, shopping for a potential value of $ 250 billion,” the president told Axios on Friday, adding: “And when you’re in the middle of a negotiation and then all of a sudden you start to apply additional sanctions: we have done a lot. I put tariffs on China, which are much worse than any sanction you can think of. “

What we learned from John Bolton's surprising story of working with Trump
Last week, Trump’s former national security adviser claimed that Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he must continue to build concentration camps to hold Uighurs. The same day, the President signed a bill aiming to punish China for its human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim population.

In an excerpt from his upcoming book published by The Wall Street Journal, John Bolton wrote that Trump spoke about the Chinese government-built detention camps for Uighurs in western China during a dinner at the G20 last year.

“With only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should continue with the construction of the camps, which Trump thought was exactly what he should do. ” Bolton writes. “Senior National Security Council Asia staff member Matthew Pottinger told me that Trump said something very similar during his trip to China in November 2017.”