America ratchets up the pressure in its trade war with China

CHINA’S PROPAGANDA machine grinds slowly. But its output is nothing if not consistent. It took more than 24 hours for state media to report President Donald Trump’s threats, tweeted on May 5th, to ratchet up tariffs on China. By that time Chinese stocks had already plunged, a foretaste of global market ructions. When the response finally came in official editorials, it was a familiar refrain from China’s canon of trade-war statements: “We do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight and, given no choice, we will fight.”That sounds bellicose. Yet one lesson from the past year’s dispute with American is that China places more weight on the sentence’s first part, its desire to avoid a full-on fight. At multiple points when the Chinese government could have retaliated against America by targeting its businesses, it has instead tried to win them over, giving them better access to its market.
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