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China accuses US of engaging in ‘economic terrorism’ in trade war



A senior Chinese official on Thursday accused the United States of engaging in “naked economic terrorism” and said China is “not afraid” of a trade war as tensions with the Trump administration continue to escalate.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui told reporters in Beijing that the ongoing trade war will have a “serious effect on global economic development and recovery,” but refused to back down in the face of increased tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imports.

“We oppose a trade war but are not afraid of a trade war,” Zhang said. “This kind of deliberately provoking trade disputes is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, economic bullying,”

Zhang’s comments to the press come ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia next month, where Xi will attend a major economic forum and strengthen trade relations with Moscow, one of its most strategic allies.

Of China’s relationship with Russia, Zhang said China was prepared to deal with any “external challenges” that may threaten their close relationship.

Read more: Xi Jinping says China is embarking on a ‘new Long March,’ a signal the US trade war is far from over

“We will definitely properly deal with all external challenges, do our own thing well, develop our economy, and continue to raise the living standards of our two peoples,” he said. “At the same time, we have the confidence, resolve and ability to safeguard our country’s sovereignty, security, respect and security and development interests.”

Clashes between Beijing and Washington have heightened this month after negotiations between Chinese and US trade officials failed to produce a deal and resulted in a series of tit-for-tat tariffs between the nations.

The Trump administration ramped up tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, accusing China of reneging on its previous trade commitments. China fired back by hiking tariffs on $60 billion worth of American imports as of June 1, with Chinese state media slamming US “ greed and arrogance.”

Tensions are also brewing between major US and Chinese companies as the trade war pours into the tech sector, a key trade point for both countries.

President Trump has stepped up action against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and recently suggested the company could be used as a bargaining chip in ongoing trade negotiations.

Last year, the Trump administration banned US government agencies from buying or using Huawei equipment, citing concerns that the company’s technology could be used as a backdoor for Chinese government espionage. In response, Huawei filed a lawsuit against the US government, claiming that no evidence has been produced to back up concerns that the company poses a security threat.

Friction between the Trump administration and Huawei further escalated this month after the the US Commerce Department added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval.

The placement of Huawei on the US trade blacklist has led to many major US tech companies and suppliers — including Google— to cut its ties and a flow of critical software to the company.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei responded to the strained relations between Huawei and US tech companies, telling Chinese media that the company is “ fully prepared” for a tech clash with the US. He added that he would ignore Trump’s call should he try and negotiate a trade deal with the company.

“Even if the US wants to buy our products in the future, I may not sell to them,” Ren said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. “There’s no need for negotiation.”

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