China’s top envoy called on the U.S. to remain “cool-headed” on Thursday as Washington threatened to raise the tariff rate on the next $200 billion of Chinese imports.
Slapping additional tariffs on Chinese imports — 60% of which are made by foreign firms, including American companies — will only raise costs for domestic U.S. consumers, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.“We hope that the trade policymakers in the U.S. will be cool-headed and listen to the voice of U.S. consumers… and also pay attention to the voice in the international community,” Mr. Wang said.
“The U.S. has no regard for the world… playing both soft and hard ball with China will not have any effect, and only serve to disappoint the countries and territories opposed to a trade war,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, adding it still hopes to turn the situation around.
President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Trade Representative to consider increasing the proposed tariffs to 25% from the planned 10%, USTR Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday.
“We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake. Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behaviour, China has illegally retaliated against U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses,” Mr. Lighthizer said.
Officials, however, downplayed suggestions the move was intended to compensate for the recent decline in the value of the Chinese currency, which has threatened to take much of the sting out of Mr. Trump’s tariffs by making imports cheaper.
The U.S. dollar has been strengthening since April as the Central Bank has been raising lending rates, which draws investors looking for higher returns.
Washington and Beijing are locked in battle over American accusations that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of American technological know-how.
Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa wins 1st post-Mugabe election
Mr. Mnangagwa and the ruling party accused the opposition of inciting the violence, the opposition, human rights activists and international election observers condemned the “excessive” force used against protesters.
Mnangagwa received 50.8 % of the vote while main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 %. The opposition is almost certain to challenge the results in the courts or in the streets.
While election day was peaceful in a break from the past, deadly violence on Wednesday against people protesting alleged vote-rigging reminded many Zimbabweans of the decades of military-backed repression under Mugabe.
“Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams,” Mr. Mnangagwa said on Twitter.
“This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!” Mr. Mnangagwa tweeted, after a week that began with peaceful voting on Monday but spiraled into deadly violence in the capital Wednesday as the military fired on protesters.
Western election observers who were banned in previous votes have expressed concern at the military’s “excessive” force in the capital, Harare. Their assessments of the election are crucial to the lifting of international sanctions on a country whose economy collapsed years ago.Shortly before the election commission’s announcement, Morgen Komichi, the chief agent for Chamisa’s opposition alliance, took the stage and said his party “totally rejects” the results and said he had not signed the election results. Police escorted him from the room.
Later Mr. Komichi said the elections were “fraudulent” and “everything has been done illegally.” He said he had refused an electoral commission request to sign papers certifying Mr. Mnangagwa’s win.
“We’re not part of it,” said Mr. Komichi, adding that the opposition would be challenging the election in the courts.
Commission chair Priscilla Chigumba urged the country to “move on” with the hopeful spirit of election day and beyond the “blemishes” of Wednesday’s chaos- “May God bless this nation and its people.”
With the military still deployed in Harare, the capital’s streets were quiet following the announcement of Mr. Mnangagwa’s victory.
By the center where the election results were announced, Charity Manyeruke, who teaches political science at the University of Zimbabwe, said she was delighted.
“There is continuity, stability,” Ms. Manyeruke said. “Zimbabwe is poised for nation-building.”
The signs that Mr. Mnangagwa’s election will be disputed appears to deepen a political crisis that was worsened by Wednesday’s violence in Harare as the military swept in with gunfire to disperse opposition supporters alleging vote-rigging.
The death toll rose to six, with 14 injured, police said, and 18 people were arrested at the offices of the main opposition party amid tensions over a vote that was supposed to restore trust in Zimbabwe after decades of Mugabe’s rule.