Chinese President Xi Jinping with US President Donald Trump.
China’s state media signalled a lack of interest in resuming trade talks with the United States under the current threat to escalate tariffs, while the government said stimulus will be stepped up to buttress the domestic economy.
The indications that negotiations are paused will focus attention on the next opportunity for Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump to meet – at the Group of Twenty meeting in Japan next month. Their meeting in Argentina in December last year put negotiations back on track, only for them to fall apart again this month in Washington.
No Rush for a Deal
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that American officials “most likely will go to Beijing at some point” in the near future to continue trade talks, before later saying he has “no plans yet to go to China”.
A sharper and more aggressive tone in state media doesn’t rule out short-term progress in trade talks, as rhetoric can be dialled back just as quickly. However, after months of downplaying the dispute with the US and banning the phrase "trade war," the new strident tone of coverage is striking.
“We can’t see the US has any substantial sincerity in pushing forward the talks. Rather, it is expanding extreme pressure,” the blog wrote. “If the US ignores the will of the Chinese people, then it probably won’t get an effective response from the Chinese side,” it added.
The blog reiterated China’s three main concerns for a deal are tariff removal, achievable purchase plans and a balanced agreement text, as first revealed by Vice Premier Liu He. They mark the official stance as much as the will of the Chinese public, it wrote.
In addition to putting the Taoran commentary on WeChat, the People’s Daily newspaper had three defiant articles on the trade war in the physical newspaper Friday.
There were two editorials on page three, with one saying “China doesn’t intend to change or replace the US, and the US can’t dictate to China or hold back our development.” The other said claims from some officials in the US that they have “rebuilt” China over the past 25 years are “outrageous” and shows their vanity, ignorance and distorted mentalities.