Beijing Says, If The U.S. Won’t Play Nice, China Won’t Play At All

The Chinese government is using the country’s official media to signal that it isn’t interested in resuming trade talks with the United States under a threat of higher 25% tariffs on another $320 billion in Chinese exports to the United States.

And to make the point doubly clear, the government has announced that it will take steps “soon” to support growth in China’s domestic economy.

Without measures that show the United States is sincere, it is meaningless for its officials to come to China for trade talks, according to a commentary on the blog Taoran Notes, which was reposted by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official outlet. The blog reiterated China’s three main requirements for a deal are tariff removal, achievable purchase plans, and a balanced agreement text. These points repeat those outlined by Vice Premier Liu He, China’s main trade representative in the last round of talks. “If anyone thinks the Chinese side is just bluffing, that will be the most significant misjudgment” since the Korean War, the blog said.

A front page commentary in the People’s Daily headlined “No Power Can Stop the Chinese People from Achieving Their Dream” said “the trade war will not cripple China, it will only strengthen us as we endure it.” The article cited hardships that China has overcome including the nineteenth century Opium War to floods to the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.

Two other editorials cast the trade war in the context of efforts in the nineteenth century by Western powers to prevent China from assuming its rightful place in the world. One editorial said “China doesn’t intend to change or replace the U.S., and the U.S. can’t dictate to China or hold back our development.”None of this sounds like China–anymore than the Trump administration–is looking for a quick end to the trade war and its tariffs.