Chinese Newspaper Accuses U.S. of ‘Bandit’ Behavior in Trade Dispute

(Bloomberg) -- China’s most influential newspaper accused the U.S. of relying on “bandit logic” in trade negotiations, in the latest sign of hardening rhetoric in Beijing.

“America’s bandit logic is what the U.S. has said becomes what you say, and if you don’t do as they say, that is going back on your word,” said a commentary published Thursday in the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper. “China will never make concessions on major issues of principle, and China’s core concerns must be addressed.”

China’s state media has stepped up its rhetoric since U.S. President Donald Trump moved to implement billions of dollars of new tariffs on Chinese goods Friday. The once-banned phrase “trade war” is back in widespread use in official news outlets, which have prominently featured commentary urging unified resistance to foreign pressure.

“It is normal for two sides to have different views and have repeated discussions on some issues,” said the piece credited to Zhong Sheng, a Chinese homonym for “Voice of China” often used to expresses foreign policy views. “If the differences and different opinions in the process of consultations at the work level are often labeled as ‘going back on one’s word,’ then what is the point of consultations?”

The commentary was reminiscent of North Korea’s accusations that the U.S. was making “gangster” or “robber”-like demands in their nuclear talks. It also echoed the Commerce Ministry’s rejection of U.S. claims China had reneged on parts of the trade deal to which the two countries had already agreed.

“The U.S. has used many labels like ‘walking back’ or ‘renege,’” Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on May 9. “China is credible and honors its word and that has never changed.”

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