If President Donald Trump follows through with his threat to stop all trade with "any country doing business with North Korea," the economic impact would be "apocalyptic," a former Treasury spokesman and White House staffer under President George W. Bush told NBC News.
"This gets pretty wild pretty fast," Taylor Griffin said. "Apocalyptic is probably a good way to describe it."
Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, a fellow at the Chatham House think tank in London, said halting trade with more than 100 nations, including Russia, India, and China, would cause a "global recession and devastation for the global economy."
"Cutting off trade with China would trigger a trade war and a protectionist spiral that would have adverse consequences for the entire world," she said. "China could also retaliate . . . it's unlikely they would just sit on the sidelines."
China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang labeled Trump's comments "unacceptable" and "unfair."
Trump's comments came after North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet, reportedly a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on a ballistic missile. China condemned the tests and is under pressure to do more to deter North Korea's provocations.
China is the United States' largest trading partner and last year, goods and services between the two nations totaled $648.2 billion.
"If bilateral trade between the U.S. and China goes away, American store shelves are empty," Griffin said. "You're not going to have anything to sell in Walmart . . . There'll be no iPhone 8 for you."
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