China’s ambassador to Australia says his country does not want a trade war with the United States, but argues Beijing is not scared of retaliating to tariffs on Chinese products.
In a rare public statement, Cheng Jingye has taken to the opinion pages of the Australian Financial Review to launch a scathing critique of US President Donald Trump’s tactics, labelling them “bullying”.
His fiery missive comes just days after Washington and Beijing slapped more tariffs on each other’s products, including footwear, smart speakers and crude oil.
“In the face of US trade bullying and extreme pressure, China’s position has always been rational and clear-cut,” the ambassador wrote.
“We do not want a trade war, but are not afraid of fighting one.”
Mr Cheng issued a blunt message to the United States, quoting a proverb to suggest the actions by Mr Trump would come back to hurt his country in the future.
He who tries to blow out other’s oil lamp will set his beard on fire,” he wrote.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did not agree with the Ambassador’s sentiment.
“We know that the Americans do have some legitimate issues when it comes to their trade concerns with China, around intellectual property, subsidies for various sectors, with regard to the forced transfer of technology,” he told the ABC’s AM program.
“But at the same time, we want cool heads to prevail, we want the disputes to be resolved, and we want both sides to be sitting at the negotiating table.
“Whether it’s the United States or China, they are best served by a global trading system without this tit-for-tat tariffs.”
He said the Australian Government would continue its efforts to lobby both countries.