Chinese media say US has ‘delusions’, urges focus on domestic development

A truck carries a shipping container from China Shipping at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California, on June 20, 2018.
A truck carries a shipping container from China Shipping at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California, on June 20, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (REUTERS) – US protectionism is self-defeating and a “symptom of paranoid delusions” that must not distract China from its path to modernisation, Chinese state media said on Friday (June 22).

China has stepped up its war of words with the United States since President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to hit US$200 billion (S$272 billion) of Chinese imports with 10 per cent tariffs if China retaliates against his previous targeting of US$50 billion in imports.

China’s commerce ministry accused the United States on Thursday of being “capricious” over bilateral trade issues and warned that the interests of US workers and farmers would ultimately be hurt by Washington’s penchant for brandishing “big sticks”.

The official China Daily said in an editorial the United States had failed to understand that the business it does with China supported millions of American jobs and that the US approach was self-defeating.

The English-language paper cited research by the Rhodium Group saying that Chinese investment in the United States declined 92 per cent to US$1.8 billion in the first five months of the year, its lowest level in seven years.

“The woes the administration is inflicting on Chinese companies do not simply translate into boons for US enterprises and the US economy,” it said in an editorial headlined “Protectionism symptom of paranoid delusions”.

“The fast-shrinking Chinese investment in the US reflects the damage being done to China-US-trade relations ... by the trade crusade of Trump and his trade hawks,” it said.

The Global Times, a widely read tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said in an editorial China needed to be realistic about how it could handle the United States and look at other strategies.

“The US has the upper hand over China in technology, defence and international influence, and therefore the country will continue to have a strategic initiative over Beijing for the foreseeable future,” it said.

“As long as China remains clear-minded in strategy, level-headed in its US policy, and avoids a full-fledged geopolitical competition or a strategic clash against the US, China will be able to withstand US pressure. In other words, China should focus on its domestic affairs.”

China should keep promoting its own economic development and ensure its growth exceeds that of the United States in both quantity and quality, the paper said.

“As long as China can effectively utilise its successful policies and experiences accumulated since the reform and opening up, and avoid subversive mistakes, the country will see robust momentum for development,” the Global Times said.