China Ready for `Fighting While Talking' With U.S.: State Media

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese state media warned that “fighting while talking” may become the new normal in trade relations with the U.S, and also strongly criticized Congress for passing a bill that supports Taiwan.

Both sides still want to reach a deal, but can’t get over the last few disputes, the state-run Global Times wrote in a editorial on Thursday, adding that China and the U.S. seem ready to shift to the “fighting while talking” mode from the previous truce agreed in December. China’s announcement of retaliation against the increase in U.S. tariffs scheduled for Friday was made in a “calm voice” but also shows a willingness to reciprocate, the newspaper said.

The commentary compared the upcoming talks in Washington to the “Hongmen Banquet,” a famous scene of treachery from Chinese history, but said China wouldn’t shirk from attending the meeting.

China is prepared for various scenarios and is ready to retaliate, the semi-official blog Taoran Notes wrote in a post on Thursday.

“Re-escalation of the trade war is not what we wish to see, but here it comes and we shouldn’t flinch,” it wrote. The blog is run by the Economic Daily newspaper which is under the State Council, and the post today was carried on both the People’s Daily and Xinhua Wechat accounts.

The additional tariffs that U.S. and China have imposed on each other haven’t been removed even during the previous rounds of talks, “so it has always been the case of ‘fighting while talking,’” the blog wrote.

Separate to the trade issues, China also reacted strongly to the U.S. House of Representatives passing legislation to support Taiwan, including calling for regular weapons sales. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China lodged "stern representations" with the U.S. over the matter.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary late Wednesday that the passage of the bill reveals the dark intention of the U.S. to use Taiwan to contain China. "The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interest and Chinese national sentiment, and has zero room for concessions and trade-offs," it said.

If the U.S. keeps going the wrong way in dealing with the Taiwan issue, which is the "most important and most sensitive" in bilateral relations, China is prepared to give a forceful response and the U.S. should fully appreciate the consequences, Xinhua said.

The People’s Daily also had carried similar comments on Taiwan.

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