After Huawei blow, China says US must show sincerity for talks

Published: May 17, 2019
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China is yet to say how it will retaliate against the latest escalation in trade tension. PHOTO: REUTERS

China is yet to say how it will retaliate against the latest escalation in trade tension. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING: The United States must show sincerity if it is to hold meaningful trade talks, China said on Friday, after US President Donald Trump dramatically raised the stakes with a potentially devastating blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei.

China has yet to say whether or how it will retaliate against the latest escalation in trade tension, although state media has taken an increasingly strident tone, with the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily publishing a front-page commentary that evoked the patriotic spirit of past wars.

China’s currency slid to its weakest in almost five months, although losses were capped after sources told Reuters that the central bank would ensure the yuan did not weaken past the key 7-per-dollar level in the immediate term.

The world’s two largest economies are locked in an increasingly acrimonious trade dispute that has seen them level escalating tariffs on each other’s imports in the midst of negotiations, adding to fears about risks to global growth and knocking financial markets.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang asked about state media reports suggesting there would be no more US-China trade talks, said China always encouraged resolving disputes between the two countries with dialogue and consultations.

“But because of certain things the US side has done during the previous China-US trade consultations, we believe if there is meaning for these talks, there must be a show of sincerity,” he told a daily news briefing.

The United States should observe the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and they must also keep their word, Lu said, without elaborating.

On Thursday, Washington put telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, one of China’s biggest and most successful companies, on a blacklist that could make it extremely difficult for the telecom giant to do business with US companies.

That followed Trump’s decision on May 5 to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, a major escalation after the two sides appeared to have been close to reaching a deal in negotiations to end their trade battle.

China can be expected to make preparations for a longer-term trade war with the United States, said a Chinese government official with knowledge of the situation.

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