As US President Donald Trump announced the US move to impose high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a Chinese senior official, Liu He, was wrapping up his visit to the US that was intended to ease economic tensions between the world's two largest economies.
China and the US share more mutual benefits than differences and cooperation is the only right option for both countries, and if US moves hurt China's interest, China will not "sit idle," said a spokesman for the annual session of China's national legislature Sunday.
Liu is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, and he traveled to the US at the invitation of the US government from Tuesday to Saturday.
Liu said that the two countries should settle their trade disputes through cooperation rather than confrontation, so as to secure the healthy development of bilateral economic and trade ties, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
During his visit, Liu discussed China-US economic and trade cooperation, as well as other issues of mutual concern with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
There is no guarantee that China and the US won't have more trade friction, said Wang Dong, deputy secretary general of the American Studies Center at Peking University. "China needs to prepare for the escalation of trade friction if the Trump administration persistently pushes protectionism and further damages China's interests."
The two sides also agreed to talk about related issues in Beijing in the near future, in a bid to create conditions for further cooperation, Liu told Xinhua on Saturday.
"The most important outcome of Liu's visit is that both sides agree to use dialogue and cooperation to solve differences and the key is that a new round of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Dialogue will start under these joint efforts," Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"Trump understands the lose-lose consequence of a trade war, but he loves to use tough measures to gain bargaining power before negotiations, so it is possible he might launch more actions to create pressure on China in the near future," Wang said.
China will not sit idle
Trump said Thursday that the US would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminum, raising concerns of escalating trade tensions between the two countries.
"Although this move affects China, it not only targets China. It's almost challenging the economic system of the whole world, and many countries, including some US allies, will oppose Trump's move," Diao said.
The stable development of Sino-US ties serves the fundamental interests of people of both countries and is much anticipated by the international community, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the first session of the 13th National People's Congress, said at the annual session of China's national legislature Sunday, Xinhua reported.
"China doesn't want a trade war with the US, but if any US move hurts China's interests, we will not sit idle," said Zhang at the conference on Sunday.
Differences and consensus
Zhang pointed out that some friction is natural given the huge bilateral trade volume, while economic and trade ties between the countries are essentially mutually beneficial.
It's normal for China and the US to have different ideas on certain issues, but such differences do not necessarily lead to confrontation, Zhang said. The right approach is to open up each other's markets, make the pie of cooperation bigger and work together to find solutions acceptable to both parties through dialogue and consultation, Zhang added.
Newspaper headline: Cooperation only right option for China, US