WASHINGTON — President Trump toughened his stance toward China on Wednesday, threatening to prolong his trade war with Beijing, which immediately signaled that it was prepared to fight back.
Mr. Trump, in a pair of tweets on Wednesday morning, said he would be happy to keep tariffs on Chinese exports rather than make a bad deal, setting the stage for a contentious round of talks between the United States and China that is set to begin on Thursday. Mr. Trump’s comments provoked a swift response from the Chinese Commerce Ministry, which suggested that it was once again ready to retaliate against American companies and their products with its own countermeasures.
Chinese negotiators including Vice Premier Liu He, one of China’s top economic officials and a close confidant of the country’s president, Xi Jinping, are headed to Washington to try to salvage a trade agreement that has fallen apart. But significant gaps remain between the two countries, and Mr. Trump suggested that he was ready to impose higher tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday morning, indicating a potentially long road ahead.
“In my study of Chinese negotiating tactics, in almost every case, they believe the end game is where they can score the most points,” Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute and an adviser on China to the White House. “They’ll be totally prepared for this final phase.”
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