China is not backing down as tensions escalate with the US, issuing a mock-proposal yesterday that the trade deficit would be easily closed if America sold expensive military equipment to Beijing. “If the US sold four Ford-class aircraft carriers priced at $15bn (£11.4bn) each, it would easily make up for the $60bn trade deficit with China,” said the editorial in The People’s Daily, a Chinese state media outlet and Communist party mouthpiece. The jibe hits at a sensitive area for the US and other Western nations long concerned with protecting intellectual property and preventing improper technology transfer to China lest Beijing gain a competitive advantage. On Thursday, the US said it would restrict exports of nuclear technology to China given worries it was being diverted to support the military. China has been accused of getting around such curbs by hacking trade secrets from key Western military contractors or recruiting spies to glean information from technical experts. But despite such worries, Western tech giants have worked to gain a foothold in China. Apple, for instance, has an established supply chain in the world’s second-largest economy, with the Greater China region accounting for about a fifth of its sale.