China says it 'will not hesitate to fight back' against proposed US tariffs

China says it 'will not hesitate to fight back' against proposed US tariffs
© Getty Images

China's Commerce Ministry vowed on Thursday to "fight back" if the Trump administration escalates a simmering trade dispute between the U.S. and China. 

Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Commerce Ministry, said that Chinese President Xi Jinping's suggestion earlier this week that Beijing could lower trade barriers was not a capitulation to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's threats to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

He warned that China stood ready to retaliate if the U.S. moved forward with plans to impose stiff duties on Chinese products.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I hope some people in the U.S do not misjudge the situation," Gao said at a briefing, according to Reuters. "If the United States takes any action to escalate the situation, China will not hesitate to fight back."

Gao noted that formal talks to resolve the trade dispute between the U.S. and China were not yet underway, and that the Trump administration had shown a lack of "sincerity" in its overtures. 

"It is not a matter of whether China is willing to participate in the negotiations. It is about the U.S. not showing sincerity at all," he said, according to Reuters.

Tensions over trade between the U.S. and China appeared to ease this week, after Xi said that he would work to open up Chinese markets to more foreign competition and reduce some tariffs. 

Trump praised Xi's remarks, writing on Twitter on Tuesday that he and the Chinese leader would "make great progress together."

The back-and-forth between Trump and Xi appeared to ease tensions stemming from a previous announcement that the U.S. could seek to impose steep tariffs on some $50 billion in Chinese products. China responded in kind by proposing its own tariffs.

The situation escalated last week when Trump announced that he had instructed the U.S. trade representative to consider tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods. China vowed to fight the proposed duties.