by Xinhua writer Jiang Li
Again, Washington has decided to up its ante in its trade offensive against China by threatening on Saturday additional tariffs on almost all of its imported goods from China.
The latest escalation in their tariff warfare seems to have shown that Washington's trade hawks are getting increasingly hysterical and desperate as they seek to force China into submission.
A few weeks ago, Washington, disregarding the plain fact, labeled China as a "currency manipulator."
The U.S. administration may feel free to press its luck in a trade fight they have initiated, but China will not be intimidated.
For more than a year since Washington fired the first shot of the trade war against China, the Chinese side has all along been acting in good faith in search of a win-win solution to their trade disputes, like buying U.S. farm products and tightening its control over fentanyl-like drugs.
Yet China's utmost sincerity has been met with smearing, flip-flopping and bullying from the trade hawks in Washington, who view China as a pushover.
By ratcheting up its rhetoric and threatening more trade levies, Washington seems to gamble that China would budge first. However, it is making a losing bet.
China hardliners in the Trump administration have overestimated their ability to cow Beijing into concessions that are detrimental to China's core interests, and underestimated the Asian country's determination to defend its vital stakes.
For these hardliners, Beijing's countermeasure announcement on Friday against earlier U.S. tariff hike threats may serve as another clear-cut remainder that China will only grow more resolute in the face of swelling pressure.
Trade war produces no winners, especially in today's increasingly intertwined global economy. So when Washington is trying to recklessly hit China with punitive tariffs, it is in fact taxing its own people, hurting its own economy, rattling and unnerving stock markets worldwide, and dragging down the global economic growth.
Washington's reckless and capricious trade bullying has already roiled U.S. stock markets and triggered global concerns, notably from its European allies.
In a red Friday, all three major U.S. indexes tumbled, with the Dow dropping 623 points.
At the on-going Group of Seven summit in France, European Council President Donald Tusk sounded the alarm that "trade wars will lead to a recession" while French President Emmanuel Macron warned that trade wars are bad for everyone.
For the benefit of both China and the United States, as well as that of the wider international community, negotiations are still the only way out of their trade disputes.
Yet, Washington's trade hardliners should bear in mind that spike in pressure is not giving them more chips on the negotiating table, but placing more roadblocks on the way towards a final settlement of the trade friction.
Therefore, the earlier these China hawks let go of their addiction to the tactic of maximum pressure, the sooner the two sides can figure out their trade problems.
Washington needs to show enough sincerity to convince Beijing that the potential trade deal is going to be pursued on the basis of respect and equal treatment, and that the deal itself is going to accommodate China's major concerns, not only those of the United States.
If Washington's trade hawks do not respect this bottom line, they will be held responsible for the dire consequences for the United States and the wider world brought about by their arrogance and bigotry.