China does not intend to become embroiled in a trade war with United States, and the two sides have agreed to continue communicating on trade issues in the near future, which in turn will create conditions for further cooperation, senior Chinese officials said on Sunday.
The comments were made as the recently announced intention of the U.S. to impose tariffs has heightened global concerns over potential trade confrontations, particularly those between the world's two largest economies.
Although Beijing does not want a trade war with the U.S., it "will never sit by and watch while its rights and interests are infringed upon", Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the first session of the 13th National People's Congress, said at a news conference in Beijing on Sunday.
The right way to handle trade frictions is to make the cake of cooperation bigger and find solutions acceptable to both sides through dialogue, said Zhang, who once served as Chinese ambassador to the U.S.
Policies based on erroneous judgments or presumptions will damage bilateral ties and lead to unintended consequences, Zhang warned.
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Baodong said "there is no winner in a trade war". China hopes the U.S. will comply with international rules, particularly those of the World Trade Organization, Li said.
The two countries have been engaged in talks in this regard, and Beijing has made all-round preparations, Li told reporters on Sunday on the sidelines of the two sessions. He is also a political adviser.
China feels a great sense of duty, and considers not only its own growth but the sustained development of the world economy, Li said, adding that the country hopes the recent positive momentum of the world economy will be championed.
"China and the U.S., the two major countries, bear special duties in this regard," he said.
Chen Fengying, a senior world economy researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said China is among the potential victims globally that stand to be affected by protectionist measures in Washington, and "timely liaison at the governmental level" is needed to avoid a deteriorating "free fall" of the situation.
Liu He, director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, met with senior U.S. economic officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for in-depth trade talks before wrapping up his U.S.trip on Saturday.
During the talks, Liu called for concerted efforts to expand economic and trade cooperation, as well as to settle difficult issues and seek a dynamic balance in bilateral economic and trade ties.