President-elect Donald Trump is not behaving like someone who will soon become "master of the White House", according to China's Global Times newspaper.
"He bears no sense of how to lead a superpower," the opinion piece Monday in the Communist party-controlled tabloid said.
The editorial was reacting to a series of Trump's tweets, posted in light of the news that China had at first seized and then released an underwater U.S. Navy research drone found in international waters within the South China Sea.
"China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act," read Trump's first tweet on Saturday.
"We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back. - let them keep it!" he followed up later that day, prompting the newspaper – often regarded as a provocative mouthpiece for China's government – to suggest the president-elect seemed "emotionally upset".
The goading messages may have been particularly irritating to the Beijing government given Twitter has been banned in the country since 2009.
The editorial comment accompanies a recent and widely watched video depicting the nationalist tabloid's editor, Hu Xijin, saying of Trump, "I don't know if he is playing the psychological card with China or is in fact just unprofessional."
"China should teach him some lessons so he might learn to respect China after he is sworn in," Xijin continues in the video.
Monday's column concludes with fighting rhetoric, indicating the newspaper's editors are intent on delivering the message that China will not take future provocations lying down.
"The Chinese government should be fully prepared for a hard-line Trump. We should show Trump what the one-China policy is and what bottom lines in Sino-U.S. ties he should not touch. Once he does, he is bound to suffer the same losses that he makes China suffer from," the editorial said.
Jim McCaughan, CEO at Principal Global Investors, told CNBC Monday that he viewed it as very unlikely that the Chinese would do anything to upset trade relations given the importance of a stable situation to its economy.
"The Chinese are really preoccupied with the One China policy … That rapprochement between the U.S. and China - the fact that business has been pretty flexible between the two - has been very important to both economies and actually quite positive," McCaughan explained.
"The Chinese are particularly concerned if it gets disturbed. Politically this is very important to them," he concluded.