Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei criticized Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, calling him “an irrational type” due to his proposal that tariffs on imported Chinese goods be increased to up to 45 percent.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Sunday, Lou said, “Trump is an irrational type. If he were to do this, that would be in violation of the rules set by the World Trade Organization.”
Lou said that if the United States put Trump’s proposal into effect, it “would not be entitled to its position as the world’s major power. The U.S. needs to recognize that the U.S. and China are mutually dependent on each other. Our economic cycles are intertwined.”
He acknowledged that rhetoric in a U.S. presidential campaign can become heated.
China is the United States’ largest trading partner.
Chinese officials have generally avoided criticizing Trump directly, though they have made indirect criticism of his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States and indirectly rebuffed Trump’s claims that China is stealing U.S. jobs.
China’s tightly-controlled state media has largely stuck to reporting the facts about Trump, with some notable exceptions.
Last month, influential tabloid the Global Times accused Trump of being a racist, warning that other extremists, such as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, had both been voted into power.
Trump on Sunday again asserted that China had waged “economic war” against the United States.