China slams U.S. trade ‘blackmail’

But Foreign Minister says they do not want to challenge America’s pre-eminence
China on Friday denounced “blackmail” by President Donald Trump over trade but insisted it had no plan to challenge U.S. pre-eminence, as relations between the world’s two largest economies deteriorate. Days after Mr. Trump slapped $200 billion in tariffs and vowed to press on until China buckles, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the UN General Assembly that Beijing would resist.
“China will not be blackmailed or yield to pressure,” Mr. Wang told the UNGA in a speech that did not mention the U.S. but appeared to be a pushback against Mr. Trump’s repudiation of globalism from the same podium on Tuesday.
“China will keep to its commitments and remain a champion of multilateralism,” he said. “We must pursue win-win cooperation…. We need to replace confrontation with cooperation and coercion with consultation. We must stick together as a big family as opposed to forming closed circles.” Mr. Trump forged initial bonhomie with Chinese President Xi Jinping after the real estate tycoon’s unexpected election victory but relations have plummeted, largely over trade. With characteristic bluntness, Mr. Trump this week said he may no longer consider Mr. Xi a friend and accused Beijing of interfering in midterm U.S. elections to punish him for his tough trade stance.
‘Not surprising’
Mr. Wang, while addressing opinion leaders at the Council on Foreign Relations thinktank earlier in the day, played down the spurt in tensions as natural between two major countries. “Various frictions may ensue and this is not surprising, and it is also no cause for panic,” he said. “Some American friends have proceeded from the Western theory of realism,” he said, believing that “in the past several hundred years, strong countries are bound to seek hegemony, and their conclusion is that China is about to seek hegemony and even challenge or displace U.S. leadership.” “I want to tell you very clearly that this is a serious strategic misjudgment,” Mr. Wang said. “It is a misguided anticipation that will be extremely detrimental to U.S. interests and the future of the United States.”
He also flatly denied a key charge behind Mr. Trump’s hard line on trade — that China is stealing U.S. technology to boost its own companies. “We hope that such untrue allegations will stop.”
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