Amid US China tensions, Trump says Xi might not be friend anymore

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Trump's claim at the United Nations on Wednesday that China was trying to sway the November 6 US congressional elections against his Republican Party to punish him over trade, without offering any evidence, came at time of increasingly tense relations between Washington and Beijing.

Donald Trump has accused China of attempting to "interfere" in the USA midterm elections because they don't want him to win.

"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade".

China will cut import tariffs on goods including machinery, paper, textiles and construction materials from Nov 1, in a move that would lower costs for consumers and companies as a trade war with the USA deepens. "They are trying to meddle in our elections".

USA intelligence officials have said previously that other nations could opt to try and copy Russia's playbook of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Trump's remark at the United Nations was the second time he has accused China of political meddling this month.

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The real estate magnate also looked to quell suspicions that United Nations delegates had been laughing at Trump during his speech yesterday, calling reports of the incident "fake news".

"They don't want me to get elected because this has never happened to them", Trump said, referring to the tariffs he has imposed on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to elaborate on the alleged Chinese interference in remarks to be delivered next week at the Hoover Institution in California.

The president, locked in controversies over his campaign's possible ties to Russian interests, has also said he wants the American public to pay more attention to China.

Donald Trump chairing the United Nations Security Council.

In the first round of reciprocal tariffs that came into effect earlier this year, China had targeted US agricultural products out of states that helped carry Trump to victory in 2016.

A leaked propaganda memo from the Chinese government in July stated that Beijing was using to tariffs to try to disrupt and split Mr. Trump's Republican base.

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A recent report issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, which represents about 1,500 United States companies operating in China, found that a slim majority of businesses reported an increase over recent months in non-tariff barriers affecting their operations.

Beijing accused Washington of "putting knife to its neck" as US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods kicked in on Monday, prompting Beijing to retaliate with additional tariffs on $60 billion of USA products including liquefied natural gas (LNG). "Now they've actually admitted that they're going after farmers, I mean, I think most of you can cover that".

One example he provided was an insert sponsored by the state-run China Daily in The Des Moines Register - a newspaper in Iowa, a key state in U.S. elections. All of those sanctions will be "in full force by early November", Trump said.

The US president has been in an escalating trade dispute with China in recent months.

Since taking office, Trump has removed the US from the Paris climate accord, promoted protectionist tariffs and questioned the value of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other alliances in furtherance of what he termed on Tuesday a strategy of "principled realism".

The White House did not provide any examples of election meddling in a hastily scheduled call on "Chinese interference" on Wednesday afternoon with a senior administration official.

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And, in a wide-ranging encounter, lasting well over an hour, he said he thought the Yemen conflict was "getting better"; announced: "I love the Kurds!", and said he thought Iran's leaders would soon be begging him to make a deal.