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How long can China hold on in the trade war?Here is the answer of Chinese Ambassador to the EU

Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, answered questions about China-U.S. trade relations and other issues in an interview with Bloomberg in Brussels on May 20, 2019.

Q: Last July, President Juncker and President Trump struck an agreement to start talking about a trade deal. The EU said that if the US imposes more tariffs, the EU would stop talking. But China continues to negotiate with the US even though President Trump keeps imposing more and more tariffs. Will it reach a point where China will break up talks if the US keeps imposing tarrifs?

A: Two factors are essential in any negotiation and consultation. One is sincerity and the other credibility. In the past one year and more, the U.S. has been repeatedly creating troubles to the consultation, undermining the positive momentum built in the process of hard and tough negotiations, and seeking illegitimate gains through bullying and blackmail. The U.S. has done this to China and to its allies as well. Who should take responsibility for the difficult situation in the consultation? The answer is crystal clear.

China has always stood for the settlement of economic and trade differences through negotiation and consultation, and stands ready to do so. China has unwavering resolve to defend its legitimate rights and interests. China’s attitude is very clear. If the U.S. wants to talk, the door is wide open and we are ready to talk seriously. If the U.S. wants to fight, we will accompany it to the end and fight seriously. In other words, the ball is in the U.S. court.

Q: As you said, China has unwavering resolve to defend its legitimate rights and interests. The strategy of the U.S., however, is to exert maximum pressure on China. The U.S. seems to believe that China needs an annual growth of at least 6% to withstand the trade war, so eventually China will give in. Considering tariffs’ impact on economic growth, how long do you think China can hold on?

A: As you know, the Chinese civilization is the only one that has gone uninterrupted to this day. We have been holding on for 5,000 years. Why not another 5,000 years?

I have noticed the expression “pain game” in a recent Bloomberg report on the trade war. People are watching which country could hold on longer, China or the US.

The Chinese economy has maintained steady growth. China has great political, social and cultural resilience. We are confident that we can withstand any external risks and shocks. As you often say, all roads lead to Rome. The U.S. could be the only country in the world that is bent on unilateralism and protectionism. China has partners all over the world.

Another important thing is that Chinese people are kind, peace-loving yet dauntless and bent on justice. Once our legitimate right to pursue a better life is challenged, we will unite resolutely to defend our rights and interests. Unity is strength.

We have said repeatedly, to the U.S. and to the international community, that we do not want a trade war. We want negotiation and consultation. We want to communicate and resolve these issues through dialogue. But if someone insists on waging a trade war against us, we will fight to the end.

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