June 5, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s determination to resist U.S. bullying in two years of negotiations to end the Korean War is a reason not to bow to Washington in bitter trade talks, a top Chinese newspaper suggested on Wednesday.
State media has increasingly alluded to or directly referenced the 1950-53 Korean War – when China and North Korea battled United Nations forces led by the United States – to rally public opinion behind the government during China’s ongoing trade conflict with the United States.
Tensions rose sharply in May after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration accused China of having reneged on its previous promises to make structural changes to its economic practices.
Washington later slapped additional tariffs of up to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate.
In a front page commentary, the Study Times, published by the Central Party School which trains rising officials, said China’s spirit and determination during talks to end the Korean War, which took two years, were relevant today.
While the piece made no direct mention of the current trade war, the message in it left little doubt as to the intention of the article, China having repeatedly blasted the United States for trying to bully it into submission over trade.
“The Chinese People’s Volunteers, in the face of the world’s top military and economic power and diplomatic blackmail, made full use of the Communist Party’s spirit of not being afraid of pressure, daring to fight and being good at fighting,” it said.
“To this day, it remains worthy of appreciation and promotion,” the commentary said.
China and North Korea went into the talks with the United States over the Korean War with sincerity and suggestions both sides could basically accept, the paper said, echoing wording China has used to describe its approach to the trade discussions.
But China and North Korea would not make concessions in the face of U.S. “hegemony” and would not accept terms signed under duress, the commentary added, in another reference to expressions used today by China on the trade war.
Finally in 1953 the armistice was signed, largely based upon China and North Korea’s original proposals put forward in 1951, the paper said.
China has said its door is open to more trade talks with the United States on trade, but there have been no high-level, face-to-face meetings since last month.
Trump has said he is expecting to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit at the end of this month in Japan, though China has declined to confirm this.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Gao Liangping; editing by Darren Schuettler)