China wants to reach an interim trade deal with the United States but it will not shy away from retaliation if necessary and will never let its “humiliating” history repeat itself, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.
It was the Chinese leader’s first public comment on the prospects of an interim – or “phase one” – deal between the two sides.
Speaking to a group of delegates and invited journalists at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing on Friday, Xi said: “We want to work for a phase one agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality.
“When necessary we will fight back, but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war. We did not initiate this trade war and this is not something we want,” he said, according to a pool report.
State media also reported that Xi had told the delegates that the pursuit of the Chinese Dream – a term he has promoted since 2013 – does not mean the country is seeking hegemony or wants to replace other nations.
But he added that the move was intended to “restore China’s dignity and status” and ensure the history of China being invaded and ruled by colonial powers would “never be repeated again”, according to state news agency Xinhua.