Top envoys trade barbs as China-US ties worsen

Marco Green
October 11, 2018

"China doesn't want a trade war, but would rise up to it should it break out", Zhong Shan, China's minister for commerce said in a statement.

If ties between the two countries continued to deteriorate, there could be "profound changes" in the strategic environment for such regional issues as North Korea, China's state-backed Global Times tabloid warned in an editorial. China then hit back with tariffs on about $60 billion of USA imports.

"This unyielding nation suffered foreign bullying for many times in history, but never succumbed to it even in the most hard conditions", he continued. "We hope the United States and China will be on the same page".

Zhong's comments came just a few hours after President Trump once again accused China of taking advantage of the USA over trade. It's been a one-way street for 25 years.

Pompeo also invoked the cancellation of a meeting between US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart, which was supposed to take place this month in Beijing.

"I regret that the strategic dialogue between our two countries is something you all chose not to undertake", said Mr Pompeo, adding: "It has been an important opportunity for us to have a discussion over these longer-term issues that present opportunities for the peoples of our two countries".

In a speech last week that seemed as much an effort to catch up to recent events as a formal declaration of policy, Vice President Mike Pence put Beijing on notice that "the United States of America has adopted a new approach to China".

Mr Wang, in his remarks to reporters at the start of his meeting with Mr Pompeo, said: "Recently, as the USA side has been constantly escalating trade friction towards China, it has also adopted a series of actions on issues like Taiwan that harm China's rights, and has made groundless criticism of China's domestic and foreign policies". "We demand that the USA side stop this kind of mistaken action".

"I hope Secretary of State Pompeo's visit to China will play a positive role toward this goal", the Chinese foreign minister said.

While this was discussed by the two sides, bilateral issues appeared to have overshadowed it.

The US military also said it would conduct a show of force with destroyers and aircraft near Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea.

"We are going to absolutely want to make sure that as part of any trade understanding we come to that currency has to be part of that". We believe this has been a direct attack on our mutual trust, and has cast a shadow on China-US relations.

In August, he claimed that Beijing is a "currency manipulator."

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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