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Editorial: Where the trade war goes is up to US

(Global Times)    10:56, August 01, 2018

More than 20 days have passed since Washington unilaterally started a trade war against China on July 6, during which both sides have exchanged tariffs on $34 billion worth of commodities from each other. It still needs more evaluation to see gains and loss of each side in the first round of confrontation.

But it is obvious that China did not surrender when facing the bullying practices of Washington, and demonstrated its resolution to continue fighting under high pressure.

As planned, August is the time for the White House to determine whether to slap tariffs on another $16 billion worth of Chinese imports, and it will also decide whether to impose an additional 10-percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in late August.

The choices to be made by the US will decide where the US-China trade war will go: alleviation or escalation. Though China has prepared for the worst, the “ball” is controlled by the US. 

But Washington turned a blind eye to the facts, claiming that “the ball is in China's court”.

If comparing the trade war to a soccer match, the US tariff policies on Chinese imports are flagrant kicks at the players on the opposing team rather than the ball, and the US trade protectionism is equivalently a handball inside the penalty area.

Both violations deserve a red card and the players who commit them should be sent off the court. However, the US has even driven off the referee and acted like one itself. What the US has damaged is not only the match, but also the whole game.

Washington did send signals for times of “being always prepared to negotiate” during the trade war. But its true intention is to escape responsibilities and kick the ball to the Chinese court. As the trade blackmail of the US has been condemned unanimously by the international community, doing so could ease the external pressure on its arbitrary acts.

Moreover, the US did so to appease domestic critics. The White House will face with a daunting task to deal with the louder oppositions from more American residents, enterprises and industries, whose interests will be severely threatened by the escalation of the trade war.

Some scholars regard it as an indication of Washington’s diffident conscience, in a belief the US has lost the confidence to win the trade war after realizing its underestimation of China’s resolution and strength. By saying so, the White House is actually making public opinion preparation to get itself ride of historical responsibilities.

Although the point cannot be easily verified, it can reflect Washington’s attitudes from the side. 

As a matter of fact, Washington has been playing the cards of both “the actions of bandits” and “the logic of rogues” from the very beginning. It performed the bandit action by unilaterally imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese imports, while trying to rationalize and justify such action with the “logic of rogues.”

The US always swears black as white, and such tactics works due to its overwhelming right of speech in the international community. This time Washington still deceived many people with its artificial argument, even including some Chinese, despite the least support it received in history. 

However, fact cannot be changed by artificial argument. Before July 6, China and the US have gone through several rounds of negotiations and reached consensus, but the latter tore up the agreement when the international community were expecting a truce. The US, going back on its word, finally ignited the trade war against China, and escalated the tension recklessly.

Throughout the process, China has been sincerely seeking a path to solve the problem, while the US failed to keep faith and became insatiable. As a result, there’s no necessity to continue trade negotiations as the US side had destroyed its credibility in the Chinese society.

Whether or not Washington will play its trump card in the coming August, China will give its response accordingly. But it is the US who will be entangled in how to play the game.

 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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