US President Donald Trump has said that China’s move to scrap term-limits, clearing the way for its leader Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely, is “great.”

xi jinping donald trump
US President Donald Trump (L) gestures next to China’s President Xi Jinping during a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017. File photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP.

During a closed-door event in Florida on Saturday, Trump suggested that he would not mind an unlimited remit himself: “Don’t forget China’s great… and Xi is a great gentleman – he’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

Tapes of the speech were obtained by CNN: “He’s the most powerful president in 100 years… you know, person… in 100 years, in China. And he treated us tremendously well when I went over there.”

The official Xinhua news agency reported last Sunday that the party’s Central Committee has proposed removing from the constitution a stipulation stating that the president and vice-president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.”

Trump was speaking about Xi to Republican donors during a fundraiser at his Mar-a-logo estate.

‘Decision for China’

On Tuesday, the White House said that the matter of term limits was an internal matter for Beijing, and Trump supported them for the US.

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“I believe that’s a decision for China to make,” said spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. “The president has talked about term limits in a number of capacities during the campaign and something that he supports here in the United States, but that’s a decision that’s up to China.”

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.