Pedestrians look at a monitor broadcasting a news conference by Chinese President Xi Jinping outside a subway station in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

China's State Media Warns of Pain for Trump in Trade Battle

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese state media hailed their leaders’ quick counteroffensive in the brewing trade war with the U.S. and said America would learn a “painful lesson” by tangling with China.

The articles and editorials across the Communist Party’s media stable came even as the country started a long holiday weekend. They emphasized that China was acting only in self-defense, and that the Trump administration’s move to levy a 25 percent tariff on about 1,300 types of Chinese imports was opposed by many in the U.S.

“As China deploys its counterattack, the pleasure that the U.S. achieved from those tariffs will now cause them suffering as their financial and political gains diminish to zero,” the Global Times wrote in an editorial Thursday. The tabloid, which sometimes takes more hawkish positions, has run five editorials on the trade issue since Monday.

China said on Wednesday said it would levy an additional 25 percent tariff on about $50 billion of U.S. imports, matching the scale of proposed U.S. tariffs announced the day before. The U.S. is allowing 60 days for public feedback, leaving room for talks. China has said its tariffs will take effect when the U.S. ones do.

China’s Sword

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, hailed the quickness of China’s reciprocal tariffs, saying “China showed its sword in less than 24 hours with a reaction that even the Americans must not have anticipated.” It devoted three pages in Thursday’s edition to coverage of the tit-for-tat tariffs.

The paper said that Sino-U.S. ties were no longer that of David and Goliath, but of two equally matched giants, and that President Donald Trump’s incitement of a trade war was out of step with global sentiment. The daily’s correspondents based in the U.S. filed an article about how businesses and consumers in the U.S. opposed Trump’s tariffs.

The Global Times said China had many more weapons in its arsenal to deploy against the U.S. in the event of a trade war. It could devalue its currency, or promote the yuan as an alternative to the dollar in the global financial system.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.