Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing on Monday that the country’s leadership was well endowed to defend its nation against any pressure by foreigners.
“Raising tariffs will not solve any problems. China will never surrender to external pressure. We have the determination and the ability to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,” the Chinese official said.
“Wait and see” what Beijing’s response will be, Geng told reporters, using a Trump catch phrase.
The Washington-Beijing trade dispute escalated on Friday, when the US increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after President Donald Trump accused Beijing of “breaking the deal” by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of talks.
Trump also ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to begin imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China, a move that would affect about an additional $300 billion worth of goods.
Beijing has vowed to respond to the latest US tariffs, but has announced no details yet.
The Chinese official further expressed hope that the two sides can work to “meet each other halfway and resolve each other’s reasonable concerns on the basis of mutual respect and treating each other equally and strive to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial and win-win.”
“I think this is in the interests of both sides and is also the hope of the international community,” Geng added.
Last week, China and the US concluded the 11th round of high-level economic and trade consultations between the two sides in Washington, without reaching any deal aimed at ending their trade tensions.
The talks broke down after Chinese representatives reportedly backtracked on promises to address issues like theft of intellectual property, after which the US announced an increase of Chinese tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Trump has urged China to either sign the deal now or it will be forced to sign a far worse agreement in future.
Trump more than doubles tariffs on Chinese goodsThe US has more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products, in a sharp escalation of the countries’ damaging trade war.
However, China says it won’t give concessions on issues of principle.
Chinese tate media on Monday reaffirmed that China’s door to talks was always open, but that the country will defend its interests and dignity.
“At no time will China forfeit the country’s respect, and no one should expect China to swallow bitter fruit that harms its core interests,” China’s top newspaper, the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said in a commentary.
State television said in a separate commentary that the effect on the Chinese economy from US tariffs was “totally controllable.”