China's state-run media outlets sounded a confident tone in Monday editorials and warned that U.S. trade pressure against the country would not only strain bilateral relations between the two nations but could negatively affect the American economy and wider global markets.
Those reactions followed the latest round of mutual tariffs targeting U.S. and Chinese goods taking effect Monday, escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.
The U.S. levied tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese products with the rate set to increase to 25 percent by the end of the year. The Chinese government retaliated with taxes on 5,207 U.S. imports worth about $60 billion. Before Monday's penalties took effect, the U.S. and China had already applied tariffs to $50 billion of each other's goods.
In Monday editorials, Chinese state-controlled newspapers such as Global Times and China Daily's editorial pages were quick to claim that Beijing had stayed calm and fair in the face of Washington's trade pressure.
If the U.S. is using trade pressure as a negotiating tactic against Beijing, it would jeopardize both countries' economies and the effects would likely spill over to the larger global economy, an editorial published by China Daily on Monday said.
"The US' unilateral trade moves have not only damaged normal China-US trade activities, but also could stunt world economic growth," the state-controlled newspaper reported. "So if the Trump administration continues to stick to its unilateral and protectionist stance, and refuses to respect the fundamental norms of mutual respect and consultation, it would be difficult for the two sides to make substantial progress in any future trade talks."
The editorial added that China has remained sincere in its efforts for a fair trading agreement, in contrast to U.S. "trade bullying."
Other media editorials highlighted the broader erosion of U.S.-China relations as a result of Washington's accusations about unfair business and regulatory practices benefiting Beijing.
For one, China Daily claimed in another editorial that America's accusations of China engaging in "theft" and forced transfer of intellectual property and other "unfair" trade practices may strain the longstanding consensus between both countries.
As such, if U.S. trade measures against China were meant as a bargaining chip in negotiations "they may actually end up rendering further engagement even more difficult, if not completely impossible," the editorial said.
For its part, the Global Times, China's hyper-nationalistic Communist Party-run tabloid, in a Monday editorial called for Americans to recognize China's strength in the trade disagreements.
"China is doing what it should. China is honest and principled and a major trade power with intensive strengths. No one can take us down," it said.