Chinese state media issued a warning to Donald Trump on Thursday in response to his choice of fierce China critic Robert Lighthizer to serve as chief trade negotiator. “There are flowers around the gate of China’s Ministry of Commerce, but there are also big sticks hidden inside the door — they both await Americans,” an editorial in the state-run Global Times said, according to Bloomberg.
The editorial goes on to accuse Trump of building an “iron curtain” of protectionism with a trade team led by vocal China critics. Along with Lighthizer, Trump has tapped Peter Navarro to lead the newly created White House National Trade Council and Wilbur Ross to serve as Commerce Secretary. Both have taken hard line against China’s “questionable trade practices,” as they wrote in a double-bylined column last July.
Lighthizer falls right in line with Navarro and Ross. A veteran of the Reagan administration, Lighthizer won praise from Trump for fighting Japanese imports in the ‘80s. Since then, he’s turned his attention to China. In 2010 congressional testimony, Lighthizer argued that the U.S. trade deficit with China is a “major threat to our economy” and lawmakers “should take a much more aggressive approach in dealing with China.” Looks like he’s about to get his wish.