China vows a “fight to the end” in trade feud with America

THOUGH CHINA runs a massive trade surplus with America, over the past year it has run a massive rhetoric deficit. During that period President Donald Trump has tweeted about China at least 130 times; Chinese leaders, by contrast, have mostly kept mum about the trade dispute with America. But in the past few days that has begun to change. A sudden barrage of commentaries about the trade war in state media has struck a note of defiant nationalism. “If you want to talk, our door is wide open,” said an anchor on China’s most-watched news programme on May 13th, in a clip that went viral. “If you want to fight, we’ll fight you to the end.”

The aggressive language comes as the two countries’ trade war heats up. Last week American negotiators alleged that China had reneged on a draft deal that was nearly complete. Chinese officials said it was the Americans who were making unreasonable demands. The breakdown in talks led to America’s decision on May 10th to raise tariffs on $200bn-worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%, covering products such as car parts and circuit boards.

On May 13th Mr Trump tweeted, warning China not to retaliate. It will only get worse, he said. Barely an hour later China ratcheted up tariffs on $60bn-worth of imports from America, including natural gas. And it did indeed get worse, with the United...

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