The US-China trade war continues to heat up, with Beijing calling for a “people’s war” against Washington and President Donald Trump threatening to impose tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.
In a series of editorials and op-ed articles published Monday, Chinese state media slammed what it labeled the Trump administration’s “greed and arrogance” and called for a “people’s war” against it. Beijing’s state-run media effectively serves as a mouthpiece for the Communist Party.
“The most important thing is that in the China-US trade war, the US side fights for greed and arrogance … and morale will break at any point. The Chinese side is fighting back to protect its legitimate interests,” the nationalistic Global Times tabloid wrote in a Chinese-language editorial carried by Xinhua News Agency.
“The trade war in the US is the creation of one person and one administration, but it affects that country’s entire population. In China, the entire country and all its people are being threatened. For us, this is a real ‘people’s war.'”
The rabble-rousing statements come amid an intense escalation of the trade war over the past week. Here’s what happened:
- On Friday, Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China, to 25% from 10%. Here are all the affected Chinese products.
- On Monday, China retaliated by saying it would raise duties on $60 billion worth of American goods starting June 1, resulting in duties of 5% to 25%. Here are the affected American goods.
- Later Monday, the US Trade Representative’s Office published a list of about $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, noting that it proposed slapping tariffs of up to 25% on those products. Those goods include live purebred breeding horses, meat, condensed milk, tobacco, canoe paddles, and articles of clothing.
If the Trump administration were to impose the new tariffs on $300 billion of additional goods, it would mean that $500 billion worth of Chinese goods coming into the US would be subject to tariffs.
That figure represents nearly all Chinese imports to the US. The US imported $540 billion worth of goods from China in 2018, according to Census Bureau data.
The Global Times’ Monday editorial also effectively accused the Trump administration of misleading Americans about the victims of US tariffs.
It singled out an interview that Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economics adviser, gave to “Fox News Sunday” in which he said that US consumers would also suffer from the trade war, contradicting Trump’s claim that China would single-handedly foot the bill.
During prime time on Monday night, the state broadcaster CCTV also aired a statement saying that China would “fight for a new world.”
“As President Xi Jinping pointed out, the Chinese economy is a sea, not a small pond,” the anchor Kang Hui said on his 7 p.m. news show, as cited by CNN. “A rainstorm can destroy a small pond, but it cannot harm the sea. After numerous storms, the sea is still there.” That clip went viral on Chinese social media, CNN reported.
In an English-language version of its Monday editorial, the tabloid also said: “The US tariff moves are very much like spraying bullets. They will cause a lot of self-inflicted harm and are hard to sustain in the long term.”
“China, on the other hand, is going to aim with precision, trying to avoid hurting itself,” it said.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that his “respect and friendship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping was “unlimited” but that “this must be a great deal for the United States or it just doesn’t make any sense.”
He added on Monday that he would meet Xi next month at the G20 summit. “That’ll be, I think, probably a very fruitful meeting,” he said.