"If they don't help us with North Korea, then I can do what I've always said I want to do," he told The New York Times on Thursday.
All year, Trump has repeatedly warned Beijing of punitive tariffs that will come if China continues with what Washington deems unfair trade practices. "They have to help us much more," he told the Times.
The president has taken an aggressive stance toward China over the last 24 hours. Separately on Thursday, Trump tweeted that there will "never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem" if Beijing continues to aid Pyongyang.
Speaking to the Times at what was apparently an impromptu interview at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida, the president also said he expects fair treatment from an ongoing inquiry about Russian interference in the 2016 election.