BEIJING—China amped up its rhetoric in a tariff battle with the U.S., playing to nationalistic sentiment with strident state-media criticisms aimed at Washington, even as Beijing reiterated its preference for a negotiated resolution. As China announced plans on Monday to raise levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, responding to Washington’s tariff increase on Chinese goods last week, state media issued defiant commentaries that asserted their country’s economic strength and girded citizens for a bitter trade fight….

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