Jimmy Carter said Sunday President Donald Trump called him with concerns “China is getting ahead of us,” and the United States’ oldest living former president agreed, NPR’s Emma Hurt reports.
“He suggested maybe it’s because China hasn’t been spending money on war like the U.S.,” Hurt wrote on Twitter.
Carter, who counts the breakthrough with China among the top accomplishments of his presidency, made the comments while speaking at a church in Georgia Sunday morning.
Trump, he said, called him after he sent him a letter suggesting the creation of an advisory panel to improve U.S.-China relations.
Carter sent the note in January after first mentioning the idea during an appearance at the Carter Center in Atlanta.
“Just have a very small group — I’d say about six — of distinguished people who have faith and confidence,” Carter said then, given “the need for future understanding and the avoidance of conflict between our two countries.”
The report comes a day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said trade talks with China were nearing a “final round.”
Beijing and Washington are seeking a deal to end a bitter trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs that have cost the world’s two largest economies billions of dollars, disrupted supply chains and rattled financial markets.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.