President Trump targeted China’s trade policies in a newly signed execution action on Monday, asking his trade office to explore a possible investigation over alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property.
“We will safeguard copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property,” Trump said.
He said he was empowering U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider “all available options.”
"This is just the beginning," Trump said as he signed the memo at the White House.
Trump wants government officials to dig into Chinese practices that force American companies to share their intellectual property in order to gain access to the world's second-largest economy.
The push comes as Trump simultaneously seeks Beijing's help on North Korea. In a move that could ease tensions, China on Monday issued an order to carry out the United Nations sanctions imposed on the rogue regime earlier this month.
Trump and the regime of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have been trading escalating warnings over the past week, though White House and other administration officials have since sought to give reassurances that conflict is not imminent.
Meanwhile, in a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent U.N. vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.