Economic globalization has resulted in more frequent trading frictions, some of which have escalated into trade wars such as the one between China and the US. Drawing on the same corpus built by Zhang and Forceville (Zhang, Cun & Charles Forceville. 2020. Metaphor and metonymy in Chinese and American political cartoons (2018–2019) about the Sino–US trade conflict. Pragmatics and Cognition 27(2). 476–501), and complementing insights of that paper, this paper investigates how the Sino–US trade war is metaphorically and metonymically constructed in 129 Chinese and American political cartoons respectively from a synthesized perspective. Based on comparative analyses, cross-cultural similarity and uniqueness in the semiotic, cognitive, and cultural aspects can be concluded as follows: (a) at the expression level, the shared dominant mode configuration pattern of metaphor and metonymy requires extra-textual knowledge to identify the target domain/concept while the source domain/vehicle concept is pinpointed through pictorial resources; (b) at the cognition level, “us” and “them” are distinctively evaluated by using the metonymy BODILY REACTION FOR EMOTION, cultural symbols, and the Great Chain metaphor. The Chinese cartoons converge on disapproving of “them” while the American cartoons converge on disapproving of “us” and diverge on conceptualizing “them”; (c) a variety of cross-cultural default scenarios are employed in the Chinese cartoons whereas the American cartoons utilize non-default scenarios influenced by only American cultures. Both aim for persuasiveness by employing emotionally charged source domains/vehicle concepts, but to different audiences.