Last week, leaked reports claimed that the Trump Administration was considering the forced de-listing of Chinese firms from American securities exchanges, sending markets lower into Friday's close.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang
Now, following a hasty denial from the Treasury, Beijing has issued a response of its own: That any such "decoupling" between US and Chinese markets could unleash a wave of instability across the global economy, harming the US as much as China.
The Global Times published a piece on Sunday slamming Washington over "the latest attempt at a coupling." In the report, the Chinese tabloid said banning Chinese firms from US exchanges "is expected to have significant repercussions for the Chinese and US economies, as well as their companies, in the future."
The paper also slammed "some fanatical US hawks" for "seriously underestimating the development of China's manufacturing industry and companies."
"Some fanatical US hawks need to take a closer look at what the Chinese economy has achieved over the past 70 years, instead of devising crazy ideas about a US-China decoupling. Why? Because they are playing with fire and seriously underestimating the development of China's manufacturing industry and companies."
GT also dismissed the Treasury Department's denial as a feeble attempt to reassure American markets: "US Treasury spokesperson Monica Crowley was quoted in a Saturday report as saying that 'The administration is not contemplating blocking Chinese companies from listing shares on US stock exchanges at this time.' The denial is likely only an attempt to reassure the market."
Near the bottom of the GT editorial, its authors added a not-too-subtle threat about Chinese companies "restraining their business expansion in the US" should Chinese firms be de-listed.
"One of the possible consequences of the uncertain ban on Chinese listings is that US-listed Chinese companies may start considering contingency plans, or at least restrain their business expansion in the US, given rising uncertainties from the US-China trade war. US companies that have investments in China may also need to think about the same issues. In the end, the US will see its remaining growth impetus depleted by concerns over future risks and policy uncertainties."
During a Monday press briefing, a spokesman from China's Foreign Ministry offered a similar warning to Washington, though he used slightly less aggressive language, Reuters reports.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang echoed the GT's claim that de-listing would harm both the US and China.
"Exerting maximum pressure and even seeking the forced decoupling of China-U.S. relations will harm the interests of Chinese and American companies and people, create turmoil in financial markets, and endanger global trade and economic growth," Geng said.
"This does not accord with the interests of the international community."
Even if the Trump Administration ultimately abandons forced de-listing of Chinese firms as a trade-war tactic, US lawmakers could force his hand.
Back in June, lawmakers from both parties supported a bill that would force Chinese companies listed on American exchanges to submit to more regulatory oversight, or risk being forcibly de-listed. Beijing was presumably less than pleased by this, even though it doesn't look like the bill will make it through both houses of Congress and the White House.
Of course, there's still hope on both sides that a deal can be reached. Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen has said that he hopes Beijing and Washington will resolve their trade dispute "with a calm and rational attitude" when the two sides meet again in Washington next week.
Whether any progress is made remains to be seen.