Money and Markets

Beijing calls for a 'people's war' against the US as Trump threatens more tariffs in all-out trade battle

Business Insider US
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump in Beijing in November 2017. The two men's countries are locked in a bitter trade war. (Getty)

  • The US-China trade war has dramatically escalated over the past few days, with both sides imposing new tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of each other's goods.
  • Chinese state media - which function as Communist Party mouthpieces - issued a series of rabble-rousing statements on Monday, accusing the US of "greed and arrogance" and calling for a "people's war" against it.
  • President Donald Trump's administration on Monday night threatened to tariffs of up to 25% on another $300 billion (R4.3 trillion) worth of Chinese goods.
  • If such tariffs were imposed, almost all Chinese imports to the US would be subject to tariffs.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US-China trade war continues to heat up as Beijing calls for a "people's war" against Washington, and US President Donald Trump threatens to impose tariffs on another $300 billion (R4.3 trillion) worth of Chinese goods.

In a series of editorials and op-eds published on Monday, Chinese state media slammed the Trump administration's "greed and arrogance," and called for a "people's war" against it. Beijing's state-run media effectively serve as mouthpieces 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:

If the Trump administration were to impose the new tariffs on $300 billion of additional goods it would mean that $500 billion of Chinese goods coming into the US would be subject to tariffs.

That figure represents virtually 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 singlehandedly foot the bill.

During prime time on Monday night, state broadcaster CCTV also aired a statement saying that China would "fight for a new world."

Anchor Kang Hui said on his 7 p.m. news show, as cited by CNN: "As President Xi Jinping pointed out, the Chinese economy is a sea, not a small pond. 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 said on Monday he will meet Xi next month at the G20 summit. "That'll be, I think, probably a very fruitful meeting," he said.

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