‘We will protect our interests’


  • ASEAN+
  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

BEIJING: China’s foreign ministry said that it hopes the United States does not underestimate its determination to protect its interests, even as Washington threatened to extend tariffs to virtually all Chinese imports.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, speaking at a daily briefing, also said both countries agreed to continue pursuing a process of talks to resolve their trade dispute.

The slightly more optimistic comments came after both sides ramped up their trade war.

China on Monday announced an increase on US$60bil (RM250bil) of US imports from June 1, following the United States’ move last week to target Chinese imports.

The US Trade Representative’s office said it planned to hold a public hearing on June 17 on the possibility of imposing duties of up to 25% on a further US$300bil (RM1.2 trillion) worth of imports from China.

Cellphones and laptops would be included in that list but pharmaceuticals would be excluded, the office said.

The prospect that the United States and China were spiralling into a fiercer, more protracted dispute that could derail the global economy has rattled investors and led to a sharp selloff on equities markets in the past week.

But speaking in Russia on Monday, in comments relayed by China’s Foreign Ministry yesterday, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, struck a more upbeat tone, noting the talks had made important and substantive progress, as well as facing problems.

While noting that “buckpassing” and pressure were counterproductive and would only invite retaliation, Wang added that there was still hope to resolve the issue in a friendly way.

“We believe that as long as these negotiations are in line with China’s general direction of reform and opening up, in line with China’s fundamental need for high-quality development, and in line with the common and long-term interests of the Chinese and American people, both countries’ negotiating teams have the ability and wisdom to resolve each other’s reasonable demands, and in the end reach a mutually beneficial, win-win agreement.”

Talks are not a one-way street and should be based on equality, he said.

“When negotiating with any country, China must uphold the sovereignty of the country, safeguard the interests of the people, and safeguard the dignity of the people. These principles and bottom lines we have stuck to in the past, and we still have to today.” — Reuters


   

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