China Retaliates Against Trump With Tariffs on $60B of US Goods

China’s Foreign Ministry said the U.S. steps have brought "new uncertainty" to talks between the two countries.

China said on Tuesday it had no choice but to retaliate against new U.S. trade tariffs, raising the risk that U.S. President Donald Trump could soon impose duties on virtually all of the Chinese goods that the United States buys.

RELATED: Trump To Aid US Farmers Suffering From His Trade War

The tariff rates will be levied at 5 and 10 percent, instead of the previously proposed rates of 5, 10, 20 and 25 percent, the Finance Ministry said on its website late on Tuesday.

China will impose a 10 percent tariff on U.S. products it previously designated for a rate of 20 and 25 percent. Liquefied natural gas (LNG), for example, was previously under the 25 percent tariff category but now will be subject to a tariff of 10 percent.

The new tariff measures will take effect on Sept. 24, the date when the Trump administration says it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese products.

The tit-for-tat measures are the latest escalation in an increasingly protracted trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The Chinese ministry announced tariff hikes hours after Trump said he was imposing 10 percent tariffs on about US$200 billion worth of imports from China, and threatened duties on about US$267 billion more if China retaliated against the U.S. action.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing later that the U.S. steps have brought "new uncertainty" to talks between the two countries.

"China has always emphasized that the only correct way to resolve the China-U.S. trade issue is via talks and consultations held on an equal, sincere and mutually respectful basis. But at this time, everything the United States does not give the impression of sincerity or goodwill," he added.

 

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Venezuela’s Maduro Pays Tribute to Mao, Meets China’s Xi on Trip to Deepen Ties

Xi said China would support the Venezuelan government's efforts to seek stability and development.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Friday in Beijing.

RELATED: China Expresses Confidence in Venezuelan People, Government Ahead of Maduro Visit

Maduro is in China on a four-day trip to discuss economic agreements and bolster his country's recently unveiled economic recovery plan. 

Li told Maduro that China supported Venezuela's efforts to develop its economy and improve people's livelihoods, and it was willing to provide what help it could.

While Xi told Maduro the two countries should promote mutually beneficial cooperation to take relations to a new stage, and consolidate political mutual trust, state television said.

Xi said China would support the Venezuelan government's efforts to seek stability and development.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro lays a wreath at the mausoleum of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing, China Friday. Photo: Reuters

Prior to his talks with Jinping and Keqiang, Maduro visited the Mao Zedong mausoleum to pay tribute to the Chinese leader. He honored Zedong by bowing three times in front of a wreath at the massive mausoleum facing Tiananmen Square and heaping praise on Communist China's founder, according to Channel Asia News.

"We are beginning this state visit in the best way because we have come to pay tribute to the great helmsman Mao Zedong...I was very moved because it really reminds of one of the great founders of a multipolar 21st century," Maduro said as he went on to praise Mao as a "giant of the homeland of humanity" and a "giant of revolutionary ideas."

Maduro's visit to China comes at the invitation of Jinping. He said the Chinese leader's vision of a "common destiny for humanity" is more than welcomed as it comes "without a hegemonic empire that blackmails, that dominates, that attacks the people of the world."

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Russia, China Start Biggest Military Drill Since Cold War

The Vostok 2018 exercise will be held from Sept. 11 to 17 in Russia’s Eastern Military District, a sparsely populated district close to country’s borders with China and Mongolia.

The Vostok 2018 exercise by the Russian military is witnessing the biggest military drill by the country in 37 years. Around 300,000 troops and tens of thousands of vehicles, aircraft, and warships are participating along with units from China in the exercise.

RELATED: Trump to China: Ready to Tariff Another US$267bn-Worth of Goods

The exercise kicked off on Tuesday along with a bilateral meeting between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The meeting looks forward to strengthening ties between the two countries amidst U.S.-led sanction against Russia and a growing U.S.-China trade war.

Putin said Moscow has a “trusting relationship” with Beijing “in politics, security, and defense.” His Chinese counterpart commented that both countries would continue to “make joint efforts to… push the China-Russia relationship up to a new height.”

Xi Jinping, left, met Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. Reuters

The three days meeting of the Easters Economic Forum in Vladivostok brought together the leaders of Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea along with 5,000 delegates from 60 countries.

The exercise is meant to test the capability of the Russian military. To this effect, the drill will include around 300,000 Russian soldiers and officers, including 6,000 airborne troops, over 1,000 warplanes, helicopters and drones, about 36,000 armor, and 80 combat and support ships. Compared to that, China’s participation seems minuscule with only 3,200 troops and 30 aircraft.

In a statement in August, Gen. Sergi Shoigu, supreme commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces, said the games would be at an "unprecedented scale both in territory and number of troops involved."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russia by the NATO block.

The first two days of the drill will see planning and preparation while the actual events will start on Thursday and continue till the last day. The exercise will be spread across five army training grounds, four airbases and areas in the Sea of Japan, Bering Straits and Sea of Okhotsk.

NATO spokesperson Dylan White said that the military organization has been briefed about the exercise in May and it would monitor it. "Vostok demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence."

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China Defends Opening and Reform, Despite U.S. Pressures

China's Ministry of Trade emphasized today this country will continue the reform and opening as well as protecting multilateralism, despite pressures from the United States on trade issues, highlights the local media today.

The spokesperson Gao Feng thus responded the accusations of Washington on alleged disloyal trade practices of Beijing.

Foreign trade activities of China have been done in strict compliance with the international multilateral trade system

since its entry to the World Trade Organization, assured the spokesperson.

According to Gao, economic and commercial cooperation China-United States, of mutually beneficial nature, has generated a notable growth for enterprises of both countries and for both peoples.

We hope the United States does not ponder the general situation based on the criteria of a reduced number of persons and does not mislead itself or the public, said Gao.

The spokesperson repeated the call to an equitable, honest and pragmatic dialogue with mutual respect and listen to the voices of industries and consumers, long-term cooperation and fundamental interests of both peoples to take the right decision.

According to Bloomberg news agency, president Donald Trump wants to go ahead with a plan to impose higher tariffs on Chinese imports valued in 200 billion dollars as son as next week.

If the new tariffs are enacted, it would be the greatest escalade in the trade war between the two biggest economies of the world, which according to the same source, creates even greater worry in the financial markets.

The head of the White House continuously accuses other nations, fundamentally the Asian giant, of taking advantage in trade with that country and boosts this aggressive tariff policy, criticized by the affected territories, U.S. economic sectors and mwembers of his own party.

The news on the possible enactment of more tariffs on China is published when trade conversations between Washington and Beijing do not show signs of progress, as those held last week in this capital showed little results.

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China hits back at Trump’s ‘absurd logic’ on N. Korea denuclearization

China has slammed US President Donald Trump’s “absurd logic” in blaming Beijing for an apparent delay in Washington’s denuclearization talks with North Korea. It follows Trump accusing China of “pressuring” Pyongyang.

Pressure has been mounting on Trump to explain why his much-vaunted talks with North Korea in June have yet to deliver any results, with Pyongyang failing to show any concrete steps towards its promise of denuclearizing the region.

The US president on Wednesday shrugged off any responsibility and instead sought to shift the blame onto Beijing – North Korea’s only ally in the region – citing its “tremendous pressuring” of Pyongyang.

READ MORE: Trump says ‘no reason’ for costly war games with South Korea, blames China for stalemate with North

“President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese government,” Trump said on Twitter.

He added that China providing North Korea with a series of other “commodities” is “not helpful.” 

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman hit back during a press briefing. “A lot of people, like me, feel that the US is first in the world when it comes to twisting the truth, and irresponsible and absurd logic,” she said. “This logic is not easily understood by all.”

Trump then seemed to take a more amicable tone as he said that – despite North Korea’s current failure to return concessions – there is “no reason” right now to spend loads of money on US military exercises with South Korea.

@realDonaldTrump

STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with...

Trump took military commanders by surprise in June when, after talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he announced that “provocative” drills with Seoul would be suspended.

In yet another episode of White House officials contradicting their leader, the comments were at odds with Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday, who said the drills would not be suspended for the time being.

That was just a day after the announcement that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea would be canceled because of the peninsula’s failure to denuclearize.

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‘Most Americans have no idea’: With all eyes on Russia, China spends millions influencing US

China has unleashed a massive multi-pronged propaganda effort across the US, using a combination of money and influence to sway key policy and opinion-makers, says a new Congress-backed report.

Completed at the behest of US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the 39-page report focuses on United Front, an umbrella organization for Beijing’s soft power, which lead author says has dramatically expanded under the rule of Xi Jinping.

“United Front work serves to promote Beijing’s preferred global narrative, pressure individuals living in free and open societies to self-censor and avoid discussing issues unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party, and harass or undermine groups critical of Beijing’s policies,” states the report.

READ MORE: China, North Korea & Iran may target US elections, Bolton says

According to the report, prominent US institutions, such as Johns Hopkins University, and think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution and the Carter Center are either receiving funding directly from various arms of the Chinese government, or cooperating on projects financed by United Front.

"Beijing seeks to outsource its messaging in part because it believes foreigners are more likely to accept propaganda if it appears to come from non-Chinese sources," says the report.

The Chinese government is also nurturing a network of “grassroots” organizations, such as the 142 US-based Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSA) and over 100 Confucius Institutes. Nominally, these organizations promote cultural exchange, and access to Chinese language, connections and culture, but according to the report, in actual fact they serve as a front for intelligence recruitment and activities, and a vehicle for ruthless promotion of Chinese agendas, including in its dealing with geopolitical adversaries, such as Taiwan.

 
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) May 16, 2018. © Joshua Roberts 

"Most Americans and many members of Congress have no idea of the range of activities undertaken by this Chinese Communist Party web," Larry Wortzel, a member of the Congress commission told the Washington Free Beacon.

Wortzel said that Congress has been briefed about the findings, and called for more Chinese-backed organizations to be given the foreign agent designation, which would bring their intent out into the open.

Such complacency about China is made starker by paranoia over Russia, where even a casual connection to Moscow is sufficient for insinuations of treason. Prominent Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein, who has enjoyed close connections with the very quasi-governmental entities listed in the report, employed a Chinese spy on her staff for 20 years. The discovery of the agent has had almost no repercussions on her political career.

With China singled out as a political rival by Donald Trump, the current administration has tried to whip up a level of alarm. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that China was potentially involved in meddling in the upcoming US election. But so far, the concern has not taken hold, with the US media much impressed with the supposedly tangible villainy of Vladimir Putin over the nebulous Chinese threat.

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Massive pyramid unearthed in ancient Chinese city that hosted human sacrifices

An enormous ancient Chinese pyramid has been discovered in an 4,300-year-old lost city, which regularly hosted human sacrifices and was once one of the largest settlements in the world.

The astonishing find was documented in the latest issue of the journal ‘Antiquity,’ in which researchers revealed that the newly excavated step pyramid is at least 230ft high and covers a staggering 24 acres at its base.

The article, written by a team of professors at universities in China and California, says the city, now named “Shimao,” flourished for five centuries across a 988-acre region surrounding the pyramid, making it one of the largest cities in the world. 

READ MORE: Here's who was inside the 'cursed' Egyptian sarcophagus (PHOTOS)

The pyramid is decorated with eye symbols and part-human, part-animal figures which, the researchers say, could have given the pyramid religious power in the eyes of the Shimao citizens of the day.Both the city and pyramid were surrounded by a series of sophisticated defensive stone walls, ramparts and gates, which the team says indicates highly restricted access to the complex. Decapitated human heads were also discovered, suggesting human sacrifice was a popular tradition at the time.

In the outer gateway of the eastern gate on the outer rampart alone, six pits containing decapitated human heads have been found,” the researchers wrote.

READ MORE: Rare 10-million-year-old whale dug up in Crimea (PHOTOS)

The pyramid contains 11 steps, each of which are lined with stone. One of the steps was adorned with “extensive palaces.” The archaeologists say the palaces were built of “rammed earth, with wooden pillars and roofing tiles.” A gigantic water reservoir and domestic remains related to daily life were also found by the team.

The pyramid wasn’t just a residential space for ruling Shimao elites, the researchers said. They also found evidence of ancient art and craft work, suggesting that the pyramid was used for artisanal or industrial craft production.

Trump's Trade Tariffs Will Harm US Economy, Business Economists Warn

Washington: Business economists overwhelmingly worry President Donald Trump's trade wars will harm the US economy, according to a survey released Monday.

The Trump administration on Thursday is due to impose its latest round of punitive tariffs on China, putting 25 percent duties on another $16 billion in imports, with Beijing poised to retaliate dollar-for-dollar.

The twice-yearly survey by the National Association for Business Economics also found respondents were split on December's sweeping tax cuts, but agreed Congress should do more to shrink the expanding budget deficit.

NABE Vice President Kevin Swift said more than 90 percent of the 251 economists surveyed said the tariffs and threats of tariffs had "unfavorable consequential impacts."

"Panelists also expect unfavorable consequential impacts should the United States withdraw from NAFTA," Swift said in a statement, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Washington, Ottawa and Mexico City began talks a year ago to revise the 24-year-old trade pact, which Trump has threatened to scrap should negotiators fail to reach an acceptable deal. Officials have become more optimistic in recent days that they could finalize a NAFTA rewrite by the end of the year.

Some companies across the United States have blamed the tariffs for layoffs, squeezed profit margins and possible bankruptcies. Lawmakers in Trump's own Republican party have expressed outrage about the multi-front trade conflicts and warned of long-term damage to the economy.

But White House officials say the American economy is more than robust enough to endure the conflict, which they believe will ultimately result in more equitable trade that reduces the US trade deficit.

A majority of those surveyed by NABE approved of December's corporate tax reductions but only a small share favored the changes for individuals, which Democrats have criticized as unduly favorable to the wealthy.

More than 80 percent believed current fiscal policy would expand the budget deficit as a share of GDP, and agreed Congress should work to reduce it.

Large majorities also favored fighting climate change and combating income inequality but were split on how to achieve the latter goal, according to the report.

According to the latest NABE survey, 60 percent of respondents believed economic policy should do more to combat climate change.

In addition, 74 percent said economic policy should do more to combat income inequality but respondents were divided on the best means of doing this: 47 percent supported more education to improve worker productivity, while 33 percent favored more progressive taxation.

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