Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks during a blunt speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly on Friday, saying Beijing is committed to resolving trade disputes with Washington in a “calm, rational and cooperative manner.”
“Tariffs and provocation of trade disputes, which upset global industrial and supply chains, serve to undermine the multilateral trade regime and global economic and trade order,” the Chinese top diplomat said, adding, “They may even plunge the world into recession.”
The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods. Trump has also labeled China a “currency manipulator,” adding fuel to the economic conflict. China has retaliated by hitting most of what the US exports to the Asian country.
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The US-China trade war, which has dragged on for 14 months, has increased the specter of a global recession. Trade experts and government officials say the trade war runs far deeper than tariffs and could take years to resolve.
“Let me make it very clear. China is a country with a 5,000 year civilization, 1.4 billion hardworking and courageous people and a vast land of 9.6 million square kilometers. China would not ever be intimidated by threats or subdued by pressure,” Wang further said.
He also noted that Beijing would have to make “necessary responses” to protect China’s “legitimate rights and interests and to uphold international justice.”
The top Chinese diplomat also denounced the US’s “rampant unilateralism”, saying in facing such behavior “we” should not sit idly by, emphasizing the importance of the necessity of the international order to go by laws and rules.
Wang also warned that acts in violation of international norms can only “plunge the world into chaos.”
His remarks come as Washington is considering adopting radical new financial pressure tactics on China, including the possibility of delisting Chinese companies from US stock exchanges.
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Ease sanctions on North Korea: China to UN
Elsewhere in his remarks, Wang criticized Trump’s policy toward North Korea, pointing to the Washington-Pyongyang stalled talks despite ground-breaking meetings held between the American president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, largely over Washington’s refusal to ease punishing sanctions.
The Chinese diplomat said it was necessary for the UN to consider invoking the rollback terms of North Korea-related sanctions resolutions “in the light of new developments” on the Korean Peninsula “to bolster the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.”
“The realistic and viable way forward” was to promote “parallel progress in denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism” to gradually build trust “through phased and synchronized actions,” Wang added.
North Korea is currently under multiple rounds of crippling sanctions by the UN and the US over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It, however, put a unilateral halt to its missile and nuclear tests – with the exception of a few test-launches recently – shortly before a diplomatic thaw began between Pyongyang and Seoul in early 2018.
That thaw later led to two summits between Trump and Kim to discuss the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula, the first of which was held in Singapore in June last year and the second in Vietnam in February.
The talks made little progress, largely due to the Washington’s insistence on Pyongyang’s complete denuclearization before lifting of any US sanctions. Pyongyang, on the other hand, has called for a step-by-step approach that would include verifiable American commitment to end its massive military presence near North Korean territorial waters.