Premier Li Keqiang called on the United States to work with China in solving trade friction through dialogue and negotiations, but China is fully prepared to respond to any possible trade war.
Li reiterated China's stance facing a possible trade war between the two countries for a second consecutive day when he met with a U.S. congressional delegation headed by Senator Steve Daines in Beijing on Tuesday.
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum for a plan that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China and curb Chinese investment in the U.S..
The two countries have made progress in bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties decades ago despite twists and turns, Li said. President Xi Jinping and Trump have met several times and maintained communications, he said.
"Using a trade war to address trade friction and disputes will be irrational and not pragmatic," Li said. "Trade disputes and friction can be addressed with dialogue and negotiations, but China is fully prepared to respond to such scenarios."
The premier said the trade sanctions violate fundamental rules and cannot solve the problem. "As the world's largest developing and developed countries, China and the U.S. should maintain stable relations, because the two economies are highly com-plementary," he said.
"China-U.S. trade has grown to such a large volume over the past several decades, it is natural to see a certain amount of friction and disputes," Li said. "It's important that we take a proactive approach to seek a balanced solution to existing problems. We should uphold the overall stability of China-U.S. economic ties. Eventually, we should find a way that serves the interests of both countries and the world."
The U.S. should work with China in a rational and pragmatic way and safeguard multilateral trading rules, he said. Li also said it is hoped the U.S. Congress plays a constructive role in safeguarding political foundations for bilateral ties.
On Monday, he told CEOs of multinational companies who were at the China Development Forum 2018 that the two countries should achieve balanced trade by expanding trade volume and tackling friction through dialogue.
The senators said China-U.S. ties are among the most important bilateral relations in the world and there is no reason for conflicts between the two countries. The U.S. Congress would like to help solve trade friction in a mutually beneficial way, which is expected to bring continuous benefits to both peoples, they said.