China Economic Review

Chinese leaders believe trade war is part of US containment strategy, says SCMP

China’s leaders are increasingly viewing the ongoing trade tensions with the United States as part of a much broader strategy by Washington to contain China’s rise and maintain American dominance, the South China Morning Post reports.

There are signs of a hardening resolve in Beijing as the Chinese leadership prepares itself for what it sees as possibly a drawn-out trade war with the US. According to the SCMP, the conflict is provoking criticism from some sections of academia and the middle classes, but the leadership is determined not to cave in to US demands.

“Trump is very confident now, and China should not appear weak,” a former Chinese trade official told the SCMP. “China has to appear confident and stand firm, resisting the maximum challenges by Trump. Making too many concessions at an early stage will only push Trump to be more provocative.”

This attitude will be put to the test next month when Beijing sends a delegation led by Wang Shouwen, vice commerce minister, to Washington for further trade talks.

A commentary by the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s paper of record, recently described the Trump administration’s policy toward China as “engagement plus containment.”

“The behind-the-scenes logic is pretty clear – it is never just about narrowing trade deficits, but to contain China in much broader areas,” the article read.