PEKING (Reuters) – A senior Chinese official said on Tuesday that it was difficult to conduct trade talks with the United States while Washington "gave a knife to China's neck", one day after both sides imposed new tariffs on each other's goods accumulated.
FILE PHOTO: China's Vice-Minister of Commerce and Deputy Foreign Trade Representative Wang Shouwen will be leaving Beijing on April 4, 2018 for a press conference. REUTERS / Thomas Peter
If the talks could start anew, the "will" of the US depended, said Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen at a press conference.
Regardless, the Chinese government's top diplomat told business executives at a meeting in New York that talks could not take place in the context of "threats and pressure," the State Department said.
Some forces in the United States have also made unfounded criticisms of China's trade and security issues that have poisoned the atmosphere for Sino-US relations and are highly irresponsible, State Councilor Wang Yi was quoted without naming anyone.
"If this continues, it will in a moment destroy the profits of the last four decades of China-US relations," Wang told members of the US-China Business Council and the National Committee for US-China Relations.
US Representatives there include Blackstone Group LP Co-Founder and Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman and Mastercard Inc (MANChairman Ajay Banga, the National Committee for US-China Relations, said on his website.
Neither Washington nor Beijing appears to be in the mood for compromise in the increasingly bitter conflict, which risks risking a long struggle that could discourage investment and disrupt world trade.
US tariffs on Chinese goods and retaliatory taxes of US $ 200 billion on US products including liquefied natural gas (LNG) worth US $ 60 billion rose on Monday as the trade dispute between the two largest economies escalated and the US $ 10 billion global financial markets shook.
China also accused the United States of operating "trade bullying" and said Washington intimidated other countries to submit to its will, according to a white paper on the dispute released Monday by the Chinese State Council or Cabinet.
"The sharp criticism (from Beijing on Monday) suggests that China may prefer to await the current US administration instead of potentially vain negotiations," Mizuho Bank said in a statement to customers.
"Given these developments, it is increasingly likely that both sides will not continue the negotiations for some time, at least not until the political sentiment on both sides has changed significantly."
Several rounds of Sino-US talks in recent months seem to have failed to break through and new negotiations expected in the coming weeks have been canceled after Beijing decided not to send a delegation to Washington late last week.
One can not say that all previous trade talks have been useless, but the United States has given up their mutual understanding with China, Wang said.
China does not know why the United States changed its mind after first reaching an agreement with China on trade, Wang said, evidently referring to the talks in May when it appeared briefly that a framework had been negotiated.
US exporters including LNG suppliers would "certainly" be hurt, but Beijing's retaliation would open up opportunities for other LNG exporting countries, Wang said, adding that Australia is an important source of fuel for China.
"China is a large and powerful nation, whether it be a confrontation with China in economic or military terms, it would cost a huge price," wrote the state-sponsored Global Times on Tuesday in an editorial.
"As such, it is an attractive prospect for other countries, including the United States, to peacefully coexist with China," said the newspaper, which was published by the People's Daily of the ruling Communist Party.
Reporting by Yawen Chen and Se Young Lee; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard, Lusha Zhang and Cheng Fang; Write by Ryan Woo; Cut by Eric Meijer and Kim Coghill