Even the SCMP is agreeing with the LA Times assessment that China will start making concessions to the US:
China's economy slowed further in December, with data released on Monday showing manufacturing sector activity contracted for the first time in two and a half years, putting more pressure on China to make concessions to ease the trade war with the United States.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 49.4 from 50.0 in November, with December falling below the watershed point between expansion and contraction in the sector for the first time since dropping to 49.9 in July 2016.
The decline was largely unexpected, with the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey predicting an unchanged reading.
The drop in manufacturing activity was led by a contraction in export orders for the seventh straight month to the lowest level since November 2015.
Iris Pang, Greater China economist from ING Wholesale banking, noted that it is not too surprising that new export orders contracted to 46.6 in December under the lingering trade war, since it had remained below 50 since June.
But with new orders, that includes both domestic and export, dropping below 50 to 49.7 for the first time this year, this shows that the economy is not running well, she said.
"December is not a typical silent month for China [in term of economic activity]. So it's quite unusual to have domestic orders also slowing down," Pang said.
"If you combine it with last week's industrial profit data [which fell for the first time since 2016], it proves that the domestic economy is in a bad shape."
Analysts expect growth to slow significantly in the first half of 2019 when the full impact of tariffs previously imposed by the United States hit the Chinese economy.
The signs of rapidly slowing growth also puts further pressure on the Chinese government to make significant concessions to end, or at least de-escalate, the trade war with the US.