In other words, Trump did not move away from his statement, the other party moved toward him.
Trump has evolved on other China-related policies as well. And earlier this month, Trump authorized a retaliatory strike on a Syrian airbase for a chemical weapons attack that USA officials concluded was carried out by the Syrian regime.
For Trump, the grievances inherited from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been compounded by Russian-backed Syria's chemical weapons attacks, retaliatory US missile strikes, election meddling allegations and Ukraine's unsolved crisis.
It may be that Trump, the businessman-turned-world leader, is discovering China's transactional approach to foreign relations is better suited to achieving his own goals.
Wracked by an internal congressional investigation into Trump's Russian connections, the U.S. president has had to distance himself from his campaign rhetoric in which he lavished praise on Russia's Vladimir Putin. China had once devalued its currency to make its exports artificially cheaper, crowding out other countries' products, but in recent years has let market forces do more to shape currency exchange rates.
It amounted to at least four major reversals or policy shifts in seven days, which could be a record for a president in his first 100 days.
He may have omitted the Cuban Missile Crisis and much of the Cold War, but it was an unmistakable message and a far cry from the praise Putin got from Trump during the campaign. Beyond the expanding ledger of disagreements, Trump has limited ability to offer Moscow concessions at a time USA investigators are examining if Russian agents and Trump campaign associates colluded to help the billionaire businessman win last year's presidential election. He's also long boasted of his flexibility, describing his positions as starting points for negotiation - though many of his core ideas, including frustrations over the USA trade imbalance, have held steady for years.
Trump's optimistic prognosis followed his declaration Wednesday that U.S. -Russia relations "may be at an all-time low", and that "right now we're not getting along with Russian Federation at all". "We may be at an all-time low".
As he performed such acrobatics to explain a series of shifts, Trump also committed several more familiar sleights of rhetoric, taking credit where it isn't due in job growth and corporate expansion.
Trump said it was "certainly possible" that Russia President Vladimir Putin knew about the attack, blamed on Assad, indicating Russian officials were present at the source airbase, which Trump later bombed.
It was not clear whether Trump's sudden policy flips were the product of a new outlook and worldview.
But upon seeing images of the Idlib gas attack victims, Trump changed his mind and reportedly ordered the strike while having chocolate cake with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Over and over during the presidential campaign, Trump pilloried China, accusing it of manipulating its currency.
There's plenty of speculation about why President Trump is changing positions.
From the podium Thursday, Spicer said: "I think you can look at what you're referring to as a shift in a lot of ways, and by that I mean I saw a couple instances with respect to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation being one of those shifts yesterday, and if you look at what's happened, it's those entities or individuals, in some cases, or issues evolving towards the President's position".
In August, he promised to direct his "treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator". It was also inevitable that Trump's lack of focus and his tendency to be distracted by whatever cable news is yammering about at a given moment would hamper his ability to get anything done. The second is White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who is aligned with Mr. Spicer, and their allies, many of whom worked at the Republican National Committee. Not Trump. Voters were drawn to him for lots of reasons, but being dogmatic was NOT one of them.
Trump and White House aides have pointed to Beijing's move to restrict coal imports from North Korea as a sign it's listening to Trump. As a standoff persisted, USA forces were placed on high alert.
Therefore, Cheng says, China still has many points of leverage over North Korea, from finance and tourism to the many North Koreans working in China.style="text-align: center;"