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China will respond as necessary in the event of a trade war with the United States, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday, while warning that such a war would only harm all sides.

Wang criticized the U.S.’s decision to call the country as a “strategic competitor”, laying off the notion that it poses a threat to the world’s biggest economy.

Trade War Response

Wang, speaking on the sidelines of an annual meeting of China’s parliament, said China and the United States did not have to be rivals, and history showed that trade wars were not the correct way to resolve problems.

“If there is any competition between us, it has to be healthy and positive. China and the U.S. don’t have to be rivals, but can be partners in competition,” Wang said.

“Especially given today’s globalization, choosing a trade war is a mistaken prescription. The outcome will only be harmful.”

The U.S. is said to be considering shutting down Chinese investments and imposing tariffs on a broad range of goods to punish Beijing over unfair intellectual-property practices as part of an ongoing U.S. investigation ordered by Trump.

In his remarks, Wang issued one of China’s most forceful responses yet to the looming trade actions.

“In the event of a trade war, China will make a justified and necessary response,” Wang said.

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US-China Trade Tension

Concerns about the U.S.- China rivalry have heated up as U.S. President Donald Trump and his economic advisers prepare to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports while leaving open the possibility of exempting some allies.

Established tariffs are expected to be 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum this week. However, the White House has said there could be a 30-day exemption for Mexico and Canada and some other countries based on national security.

Such a move aims to counter cheap imports, especially from China, that Trump says undermine U.S. industry and jobs.

Trump’s administration has faced increasing opposition to the tariffs from prominent congressional Republicans and business officials worried about their potential impact on the country.

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