China’s state media has warned that the “battle is on” with the United States, as tensions with the West continue to grow amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper accused the Trump administration of “seizing China by the throat”, saying the rising superpower is “prepared to engage in a long-term battle with the US”.
It comes after Donald Trump announced earlier this week that the US would work on a response to China’s planned national security legislation for Hong Kong.
“Since China is determined to push forward the national security legislation for Hong Kong, it has been prepared for any possible reaction from the US,” the editorial said.
“Many Chinese people have realised that some US politicians are seizing China by its throat. A long-term rivalry between China and the US is inevitable. In the face of US aggression, China should adopt a calm mentality and be prepared to engage in a long-term battle with the US.”
Beijing warned the US would “suffer the most” if a financial trade war between the two countries were to grow.
“If a financial war spirals out of control, it is the US that will suffer the most. With its real economy shrinking, the US economy is largely relying on the financial sector, which means launching a financial war equals self-harm.
“The Chinese people are pragmatic and hardworking. We have constructed a comprehensive manufacturing system and built the technological ability to make breakthroughs. We also have a vast market. Hardly can such a country be isolated and contained.”
It went on to say China is ready for “battle” over the Hong Kong issue.
“The China-US ‘battle’ over Hong Kong is on. The US is free to play any cards in its hand. Hong Kong is under China’s sovereignty, and whatever act Washington passes is just wastepaper.
“Amid the long-term competition with the US, one of the most important tasks for China is to build up its internal vitality. We have sufficient means to resist external blows, while internal flexibility and vitality are sources of subsequent stamina. In the end, China is competing with itself.”
Over the weekend, thousands of demonstrators in Hong Kong took to the streets over a controversial new security law put forward by the Chinese government.
The law will allow Chinese national security agencies to deploy in the semi-autonomous territory for the first time, in line with the Chinese Communist Party’s aim to bring Hong Kong more under its control.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration warned that the US would likely impose sanctions on China if the law were to pass.
China has repeatedly threatened the US in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, warned that members of the Trump administration “are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war”.
“This dangerous attempt to turn back the will of history will undo the fruits of decades-long China-US co-operation, dampen America’s own development prospects, and put world stability and prosperity in jeopardy,” he said.
The debate over trade has intensified as the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more pronounced.
The US, which today surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, is trying to pin the blame on the Chinese Communist Party, while Beijing says the Trump administration is trying to keep it from becoming a global power.