China responds to Trump threat

Top News | AGENCIES 12 Jun 2019

China will respond firmly if the United States insists on escalating trade tensions, the foreign ministry said after US President Donald Trump threatened that further tariffs were ready to kick in if no deal was reached at the G20 summit.

Trump has repeatedly said he is getting ready to meet President Xi Jinping at the Osaka summit at the end of the month, but China has not confirmed it.

Trump said he was ready to impose another round of punitive tariffs on Chinese imports if he cannot make progress in trade talks with Xi in Osaka.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang again would not be drawn on confirming a Xi-Trump meeting, saying the information would be released once it was available to the ministry.

"China does not want to fight a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting a trade war," he said, adding China's door was open to talks based on equality.

"If the United States only wants to escalate trade frictions, we will resolutely respond and fight to the end."

Moreover, the US Energy Department is reportedly banning its researchers from joining Chinese talent-recruitment programs after finding personnel were recruited by foreign military-linked programs and lured with multimillion-dollar packages.

Meanwhile, at a consumer electronics show in Shanghai, a top executive of telecom gear maker Huawei Technologies hinted that pressure from Washington on other countries to exclude it from next-generation, or 5G, telecom networks is taking a toll on its sales.

Huawei vaulted past Apple to become the No 2 global smartphone brand behind South Korea's Samsung last year as its total sales surged almost 20 percent to exceed US$100 billion (HK$780 million).

"If we had not encountered anything unexpected, we would have become number one in the world by the fourth quarter," Huawei's chief strategist, Shao Yang, said at the Consumer Electronics Show.

"But now we have to wait a little bit longer to achieve that."

At the same time, Japan's Tokyo Electron, the world's No 3 supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, will not supply to Chinese clients blacklisted by Washington, a senior company executive said.

China is pushing to build its semiconductor industry to reduce its reliance on US, Japanese and European suppliers for chip-making machinery.

Chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm, mobile research firm InterDigital Wireless and South Korean carrier LG Uplus have restricted employees from informal conversations with Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker.

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