China attacked the United States for waging “naked economic terrorism” against it Thursday as Beijing escalated the rhetoric surrounding its trade war with America.
The world’s two major economies are currently wrestling with new dimensions in their trade relationship, with U.S. President Donald Trump hiking tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month and blacklisting global telecom giant Huawei.
The administration banned U.S. government agencies last summer from using equipment made by Huawei and ZTE, another large Chinese telecom firm. Huawei is suing the U.S. government to overturn the ban.
Now China is pushing back.
“We are against the trade war, but we are not afraid of it,” vice foreign minister Zhang Hanhui said at a press briefing to preview President Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia next week.
“This premeditated instigation of a trade conflict is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, and economic bullying,” Zhang said, claiming China is the innocent victim in this trade war as it opposes the systematic use of sanctions, tariffs and protectionism.
“There is no winner in a trade war,” he warned.
The intervention of Zhang Hanhui comes after China said Tuesday it might “weaponize” its dominance of rare earth metals.
Just over a week after a visit to a rare earths facility by Chinese leader Xi Jinping prompted speculation that China could attempt to use its near monopoly as leverage in the ongoing trade dispute, the Chinese nationalist Global Times reported a government official saying it “sends an implicit signal that China does not hesitate using rare earths as a weapon against the US amid the escalating trade war and US containment of Huawei.”
“If any country wants to use products made of China’s rare earth exports to contain China’s development, the Chinese people would not be happy with that,” a spokesperson from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s state planner, said, according to the Global Times.