The concern is that such measures would have interfered with trade negotiations with Beijing. Speaking to Axios on Friday and when asked why he had not enacted Treasury sanctions, he replied: “Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal. And I made a great deal, $250 billion potentially worth of purchases.” These sanctions would have been against the Communist Party officials linked to repression in the Xinjiang region.
According to UN estimates, more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps there.
The US State Department has also accused China of subjecting Muslims to torture and abuse.
China has denied mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training and help fight extremism.
According to Reuters, US officials have previously mentioned that since 2018, they weighed sanctions against officials in China over Xinjiang.
“I just thought this kind of back and forth with authoritarian leaders did not reflect well on Donald Trump himself or the presidency or the United States,” Bolton added.
Despite these claims making it into John Bolton’s new book, President Trump has denied these accusations.
Since last year, the US has been placing restrictions on the imports of some Chinese companies and even banning visas on unauthorized Chinese officials linking to Xinjiang.
However, he still hasn’t imposed harsher Treasury sanctions.
Last Wednesday, Mr Trump signed legislation that called for sanctions over Xinjiang.
Drawing threats of retaliation from China.
The President has insisted that he does have discretion when it comes to deciding any application of measures.