China vows to defend its interests in trade talks


Associated Press

HONG KONG

China said Thursday it doesn’t want to see increased trade tensions with the U.S. as the two countries have talks in Washington this week, but it’s prepared for any outcome and will defend its own interests.

The comments by a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman came after President Donald Trump tweeted that there has been “no folding” in the discussions.

Spokesman Gao Feng also told reporters that China hopes the U.S. will take “concrete action” to resolve a case involving Chinese tech company ZTE, which Washington hit with a crippling ban on buying from U.S. suppliers after it violated U.S. sanctions.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are leading talks in Washington today aimed at averting a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

“We do not want to see the escalation of the trade frictions between China and the U.S.,” Gao said at a weekly briefing. “Of course, we are also prepared for all possibilities.”

The Trump administration has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese imports to punish Beijing over trade practices requiring American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. China has counterpunched by targeting $50 billion in U.S. products.

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