The piece slammed remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week on human rights in China and her description of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) as an agreement of values as well as trade.
The editorial, headlined "US rule of TPP halts natural expansion", came a day after Japan announced it would join TPP talks, and shortly after a Chinese official at an Asia-Pacific summit said Beijing would "consider" joining the pact if invited.
"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kickstarted a publicity campaign Thursday by Washington to push for a free trade deal (TPP), while pressing China on human rights," the editorial in the Global Times said.
"Clinton's remarks specifically fuelled speculation about Washington's attempt to contain China through (the) TPP... If the US is sincerely committed to the success of its TPP initiative, Clinton should not have adopted this tone," it said.
The piece argued that the TPP would be worth little without China.
"China should feel comfortable with the fact that any Asian cooperation with the absence of Beijing will not have much heft. China never lacks channels for conducting cooperation with its regional counterparts," it said.
The Chinese edition of the Global Times alluded to Japan's announcement, saying Beijing "has no reason to oppose the expansion of the TPP".
Clinton said Thursday that the United States was "alarmed" by incidents such as recent self-immolations by Tibetans and the house arrest of lawyer Chen Guangcheng, and called "on China to embrace a different path".
She added that the TPP was a new type of trade deal that was "not merely a matter of economics" but also an agreement of values such as openness, freedom and fairness.
Signed in 2005, the TPP was originally an obscure arrangement between just four members -- Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.
But it got a shot in the arm in 2008 after the United States announced it wanted to join the grouping and invited a few economies to follow suit.
With Japan's entry, 10 nations are now in talks for an expanded TPP. The others are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
"China's participation in the pact is possible," said the Global Times, adding that "China remains open to international cooperation but it would never seek engagement with blocs that do not respect its interests."
At the summit in Hawaii, a senior Chinese official carefully declined to take issue with the pact on Friday and said that it complemented other global efforts on trade.
"Until now we have not yet received any invitation from any TPP economy. If one day we receive such an invitation, we will seriously study the invitation," China's assistant commerce minister Yu Jianhua told reporters.