The US government is increasingly targetting the two biggest economies in Asia - India and China - in a bid to fix its trade deficit.
AFP reported documents submitted to the WTO by the US which included punishment for violating basic rules, mainly aimed at China.
A White House said on Wednesday it was pushing China to cut trade surplus with the US by $100 billion.
Last week, Trump had tweeted that China had been asked to develop a plan to reduce its trade imbalance with the United States by $1 billion, but the White House spokeswoman said Trump had meant to say $100 billion.
The United States had a record $375 billion trade deficit with China in 2017, which made up two-thirds of a global $566 billion U.S. trade gap last year, according to US Census Bureau data.
China reported its 2017 U.S. trade surplus as $276 billion, also about two-thirds of its reported global surplus of $422.5 billion.
In a Thursday editorial, widely-read Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times said the United States was trying to play the victim.
"If the U.S. wants to reduce its trade deficit, it has to make Americans more hard-working and conduct reforms in accordance with international market demand, instead of asking the rest of the world to change," it wrote.
"Once a trade war starts, capable countries won't bow to the US-China has tried hard to avoid a trade war, but if one breaks out, appeasement is not an option."