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New envoy calls latest tariffs 'irrational'

By HONG XIAO at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-05 23:13
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China's new envoy to the United Nations said that the US' decision to impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting Sept 1, is "irrational and irresponsible, hurts the interests of China and the world, and is not in the long-term interests of the US".

Ambassador Zhang Jun, permanent representative of China to the UN, said, "China and the US are economically and commercially interdependent."

Zhang said the US announcement "further deviates from the right track, and American consumers are paying more".

He said China "expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" and will take all necessary countermeasures to safeguard its rights and interests.

"Practices of unilateralism, protectionism and bullying hurt the world and other countries and will not solve the problems of the United States," he said, urging the US to return to the right track.

Zhang said that China's position on China-US trade issues is clear: If the US wishes to talk, China will talk. If the US wants to fight, China will fight.

"China will not make concessions on issues concerning its fundamental interests. China is not fighting for itself alone, but fighting for an open, transparent, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system," he said.

"If major players do not behave like that, how can they expect others to do it?" he added.

Zhang spoke to Chinese and foreign media, including the Xinhua News Agency, The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, Kyodo News and RIA Novostia at United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday.

On China-US cooperation at the UN, Zhang said that because the two countries are permanent members of the Security Council and major economies, relations between the two are extremely important.

China is ready to strengthen cooperation with the United States and contribute to world peace and common development, he said.

At the same time, Zhang emphasized that cooperation must be based on mutual respect, mutual equality and mutual trust, and China will never sacrifice, but firmly uphold, its own fundamental interests.

On the recent protests in Hong Kong, Zhang said that China will never allow any country to interfere in China's internal affairs, especially on issues relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan.

"It must be emphasized that what has happened in Hong Kong goes far beyond peaceful demonstrations. It is turning out to be chaotic and violent and having a serious impact on the rule of law, order, economy and image of Hong Kong," he told the journalists.

He reiterated that "one country, two systems" must not be abused. "One country" is the basis of "two systems". "Two systems" must not undermine China's sovereignty, territorial integrity or the authority of the central government.

"We strongly condemn any act of violence. The central government of China firmly supports the government of Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) in taking effective measures to combat violence and restore social stability," he said.

Zhang said that China believes that the progress made on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula "should be cherished. Dialogue is the only way to solve the problem. Positive actions by the DPRK should be encouraged."

On whether the trade dispute between the US and China would affect the talks on North Korea, Zhang said that he is "not in a position to make any predictions".

"At the same time, if one wants to cooperate, he should demonstrate the spirit of cooperation to his partner. It would be hard to imagine that on the one hand, you are seeking cooperation from your partner and, on the other hand, you are hurting the interest of your partner."

On the US withdrawal from the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), Zhang said that China's position is clear.

"The INF is a bilateral treaty between Russia and the US. China regrets to see and opposes the US withdrawal from this legally binding agreement." He said making China an excuse for the withdrawal by the US is "not acceptable".

"Everybody knows that China is not at the same level with the US and Russia, which are the two largest nuclear weapon-possessors in the world. Therefore, China should not be put together with the two," he said. "China adopts a defensive policy. "

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