China ramps up war of rhetoric in trade standoff with US

Updated May 25, 2019

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There was no word from either side on progress toward resuming talks between the world’s two largest economies. — AFP/File
There was no word from either side on progress toward resuming talks between the world’s two largest economies. — AFP/File

BEIJING: Stepping up Beijing’s propaganda offensive in the tariffs standoff with Washington, Chinese state media on Friday accused the US of seeking to “colonise global business” with moves against Huawei and other Chinese technology companies.

There was no word from either side on progress toward resuming talks between the world’s two largest economies, though President Donald Trump said he expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month at a G-20 meeting in Japan.

Negotiations over how to cut the huge, longstanding US trade deficit with China and resolve complaints over Beijing’s methods for acquiring advanced foreign technologies foundered earlier this month after Trump raised tariffs on billions of dollars of imports from China.

At a daily briefing Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang accused American politicians he didn’t name of “fabricating various lies based on subjective presumptions and trying to mislead the American people.” The China Daily, an English-language newspaper, said US expressions of concerns about Chinese surveillance equipment maker Hikvision were for the self-serving aim of claiming the “moral high ground” to promote Washington’s political agenda.

“In this way, it is hoping to achieve the colonisation of the global business world,” the newspaper said.

Hikvision said in a statement Friday that it takes US concerns about its business seriously and is working to ensure it complies with human rights standards.

Activists have been urging the US and other countries to sanction China over repression of members of Muslim minority ethnic groups in the northwestern Xinjiang region, where an estimated 1 million people are being detained in re-education camps.

The New York Times reported the US Commerce Department might put Hikvision on its “entity list,” restricting its business with US companies for its alleged role in facilitating surveillance in Xinjiang.

In its statement, the company said it had “engaged with the US government regarding all of this since last October.” Hikvision said it had retained former US Ambassador-at-large Pierre-Richard Prosper of the firm Arent Fox to advise the company regarding human rights compliance.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2019