President Trump, stung by criticism that he has gone soft on China and less worried about Beijing’s ability to disrupt a potential summit meeting with North Korea, reversed course on Tuesday and declared that the United States would impose tariffs and other punitive measures on China.

Barely a week after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the trade war was “on hold” and that tariffs would be suspended as negotiations continued, the White House issued a statement saying the United States would move ahead with its plan to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods within the next month…

Hours after the tariffs on China were announced, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce accused the White House of going back on its word, even as it hinted that Beijing expected such a reversal.

“We feel surprised by the tactical statement issued by the White House, and yet it was also unsurprising,” a statement from the ministry said, adding that China would “defend the interests of the Chinese people and core national interests.”