China will not accept “rogue country” United States’ attempts of acquiring TikTok and considers Microsoft’s pursuit of purchasing the company a “theft” of its technology, state-run China Daily said in an editorial on Tuesday. It said that China had “plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab”.

Microsoft had on Monday said it was in talks with Chinese internet giant ByteDance to buy parts of TikTok after US President Donald Trump reversed course on a plan to ban the popular video app on national security grounds. He said he would allow the app to keep operating if it was sold to an American owner and gave Microsoft 45 days to strike a deal.

China Daily, which is a mouthpiece of the China’s ruling Communist Party, said that “such shilly-shallying” is a tactic the US administration employed during the trade deal negotiations with China.

“The tactic involves the president promising punishment for some perceived wrongdoing, followed by indications from other administration officials that the punishment might not be forthcoming,” it said. “This is followed soon after by some close to the president saying that he intends to make good on his threat, sparking a sharp rise in tensions again. All with the aim of getting what the US administration wants.”

The editorial claimed the US administration’s “bullying” of Chinese tech companies stems from data being the new source of wealth and its “zero-sum vision of ‘American first’”.

“With competitiveness now dependent on the ability to collect and use data, it offers an either-or choice of submission or mortal combat in the tech realm,” it added. “But China will by no means accept the theft of a Chinese technology company, and it has plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab.”

US should get very large percentage: Trump

Meanwhile, Trump has demanded the US treasury to ensure that his country gets a substantial chunk of the sales proceeds of TikTok, as he set the September 15 deadline for the acquisition of the app, PTI reported. “The United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we’re making it possible,” he told reporters on Monday.

Explaining his views to reporters, Trump drew a parallel to his days in real estate development. “Without us, you know, I use the expression: it’s like the landlord and the tenant,” he said. “And without the lease, the tenant doesn’t have the value.”

Trump said that TikTok was a “tremendous success”. “But a big portion of it in this country,” he added. “It would come from the sale, yeah. Whatever the number is, it would come from the sale.” The president is reportedly in favour of a complete 100% purchase and not the 30% as reportedly being negotiated now.

The president once again asserted that the Chinese app must be owned and operated by an American firm. “We want no security problems with China,” he said. “It’s got to be an American company. It’s got to be American security. It’s got to be owned here.”

Trump’s 45-day ultimatum on TikTok’s forced sale is the latest in a series of punitive measures he has taken against Beijing, which he has repeatedly blamed for the uncontrollable spread of the coronavirus pandemic. China’s military buildup in the South China Sea, its treatment of Uighur Muslims and massive trade surpluses has also contributed to the strained ties.

US has also criticised China over its new security laws in Hong Kong. Earlier this month, Trump had signed an order to end special trade preferences for Hong Kong to punish China for its “oppressive actions”. In July, the US government has also closed the Chinese consulate in Houston over allegations of espionage and unethical practices.