DONALD Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300bn worth of goods today – as a Beijing propaganda campaign painted the US as evil bullies.
Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have soared sharply since talks aimed at ending a festering trade war broke down in early May.
“Our talks with China, a lot of interesting things are happening. We’ll see what happens… I could go up another at least $300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time,” Trump told reporters.
“But I think China wants to make a deal and I think Mexico wants to make a deal badly,” he said before boarding Air Force One on his way to France for the D-Day commemorations.
“When you have the money, when you have the product, when you have the thing that everybody wants, you’re in a position to do very well with tariffs, and that’s where we are,” he continued.
“We’re the piggy bank. The United States is the piggy bank. It has all the money that others want to take from us, but they’re not taking it so easy anymore. It’s a lot different.”
China’s Commerce Ministry has already vowed Beijing will have to adopt necessary countermeasures if Washington escalates trade tensions.
It also claimed the mounting pressure from Washington will only caused serious setbacks to the ongoing trade talks.
The basis for the dispute lies with the US President Donald Trump wanting to “Make America Great Again” and part of that is to redress what he sees as unfair trade deals the US has agreed to in the past.
He wants to bring more production back into the country as a way to protect US jobs, he believes such past agreements have been a rip-off for the US.
During the 2016 election campaign, Trump accused Beijing of “raping” US workers.
The Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is also a leader who is said to not want to be seen to back down with both leaders seeing the honour of their nation at stake.
Words turned to action on July 6, 2018, when both sides levied tariffs on $34bn worth of goods.
This was then increased by $16bn by both sides on August 23, 2018.
The stakes were raised yet again on September 17, 2018, when the US imposed $200bn at a rate of 10 per cent while China was more cautious imposing the same rate but on $60bn.
A ceasefire of sorts was then introduced in December 2018 with the two sides agreeing to start negotiations and tariffs were paused.
But despite numerous rounds of talks no agreement has been reached and the US then said it would raise tariffs on $200bn of China goods to 25 per cent.
On May 13, 2019, China said it would increase tariffs on £46bn ($60bn) of US exports, which caused stock markets to tumble.
Amid the tensions, China is cranking up its anti-US rhetoric with a bizarre hate-filed song, patriotic old war films and misleading travel alerts.
The ruling Communist Party’s campaign focuses on US “trade bullying” and accuses Trump’s country of looking down on the rest of the world.
International observers say the message now coming out of Beijing is crystal clear – the United States is evil.
In one article, published in party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, the US was labelled the “enemy of the world,” reports CNN.
President Xi Jinping’s state media has even begun to refer to a very bloody battle between America and Chinese forces during the Korean War.
The 1952 battle of Triangle Hill – or Shangganling in Chinese – has been glorified in China for decades as a turning point in the war.
School children are told how the sacrifice of Chinese soldiers eventually led to the “defeat of the evil American invaders”.
Both the Chinese military and the US-led UN forces lost thousands of men after more than 40 days of bloody fighting.
However, in Chinese articles, textbooks and popular movies, the outgunned Chinese soldiers are always painted as the undisputed victors.
“The US military paid such a heavy price … that Triangle Hill became their ‘Heartbreak Hill,'” said a commentary piece on Chinese social media by an account run by the country’s cyberspace authority.
“It was a watershed moment when the world recognised (the strength) of China and its military.”
It then went on to claim a decades-old Chinese movie of the battle called the ‘Battle of Shangganling Mountain ‘ is now surging in popularity during the trade war.
An uber-patriotic song aimed at America has also gone viral in China.
Trade War was written by retired Chinese official Zhao Liangtian, who says he now has 200,000 followers on his social media account.
The lyrics urge the Chinese to stand fast and support China’s businesses while snubbing American products.
“Trade War! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! A trade war is happening over the Pacific Ocean,” the lyrics say.
“If the perpetrator wants to fight, we will beat him out of his wits.”
The music and accompanying video showing marching Chinese soldiers, massive explosions and a giant fist.
Beijing has already issued a travel warning for the US, saying Chinese visitors have been interrogated, interviewed and subjected to other forms of what it called harassment by US law enforcement agencies.
The warning urges Chinese citizens and companies in the US to “fully evaluate the risks of going to the United States” and to “raise their awareness of safety measures to ensure their safety.”
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued its own travel alert, noting the high frequency of shootings, robberies and theft in the US.
The department said: “In recent days, there have been incidents of gun violence, robberies and thefts in the United States.”
Chinese social media has been abuzz with talk of US visa and green card denials and other travel, education and employment woes under Trump, who has sought to restrict the numbers of foreign visitors and others coming to the US for what he claims are security and economic reasons.
Chinese travel to the US has also fallen after more than a decade of rapid growth, leaving cities, malls and other tourist spots scrambling to reverse the trend.
Travel from China to the U.S. fell 5.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office, which collects data from US Customs forms.