Trade war brawl: Chinese flagship newspaper attacks US President Donald Trump’s ‘street fighter-style drama’

The overseas edition of People’s Daily accuses Trump of reducing international relations to a zero-sum game, adding that Beijing will not cede to threats

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 1:40pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 10:20pm

A top Chinese state propaganda outlet has lashed out at US President Donald Trump, accusing him of launching a “deceitful drama” of a trade conflict and insisting that Beijing will not surrender to threats.

In a front-page editorial on Monday, the overseas edition of People’s Daily said Trump was “starring in his own carefully orchestrated street fighter-style deceitful drama” in which diplomacy had been reduced to nothing but a “trading game in which everything should follow the rule of America first”.

“To realise the goal of reviving the American economy, Trump has chosen a simple but crude way. He has bypassed the multilateral trading system of the World Trade Organisation and started trade conflicts, forcing countries, including its traditional allies, to cede their interests to those of the United States,” it said.

The latest volley in the trade row between the countries comes as Chinese leaders gather in the coastal resort of Beidaihe near Beijing for their informal, annual summit to discuss the domestic, economic and foreign policies of the coming year.

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The conflict is expected to be high on the gathering’s agenda, with the US and China already imposing 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion of each other’s goods and duties on another US$16 billion in Chinese products in the pipeline.

In addition, Beijing announced on Friday that it would add duties ranging from 5 to 25 per cent on an additional US$60 billion in US goods if the Trump administration went ahead with similar action, warning that further countermeasures were ready at any time.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it was “forced to do act” after Trump’s threat earlier last week to raise a proposed tariff rate on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

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The People’s Daily editorial said the US was “turning international trade into a zero-sum game” in the hope of forcing China to make a tremendous compromise.

“But China will never surrender to blackmail and will definitely rise to defend itself when it involves national interests and national dignity,” it said.

In Twitter posts on Sunday, Trump said the US’ punitive tariffs were “working big time”.

“Every country on Earth wants to take wealth out of the US, always to our detriment. I say, as they come, tax them. If they don’t want to be taxed, let them make or build the product in the US. In either event, it means jobs and great wealth,” he wrote, without specifying a target country.

“Because of tariffs we will be able to start paying down large amounts of the US$21 trillion in debt that has been accumulated, much by the Obama administration, while at the same time reducing taxes for our people,” he said, referring to his predecessor Barack Obama.