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China says door still open for talks with US over trade war

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By PTI Updated: Jun 02, 2019 11:07 pm
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Singapore, June 2 (PTI): Amid ongoing trade war with the US and tension over the South China Sea, Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe said on Sunday that Beijing’s door is still open for talks but warned that it was “ready to fight till the end” if a fight is what America wants.
Addressing the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue here, Gen Wei also said that telecom giant Huawei is not a military company and defended the Tiananmen Square massacre where Chinese army tanks were used on protestors 30 years ago.

The US and China are locked in a bitter, year-long trade dispute which has seen the Trump administration recently boost tariffs on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods.

US President Donald Trump is demanding China to reduce the massive trade deficit which last year climbed to over USD 539 billion. He is pressing for verifiable measures for protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets.

“On the trade friction started by the US: if the US wants to talk, we will keep the door open. If they want to fight, we are ready,” General Wei said while speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. He asserted that Huawei is not a military company despite despite its founder Ren Zhengfei’s previous career in the army.

“Huawei is not a military company. Do not think that because the head of Huawei used to serve in the military, then the company that he built is part of the military,” General Wei said.

“It doesn’t make sense because these sorts of ex-servicemen, upon their retirement, a lot of them have set up companies in countries across the world,” said Gen Wei, the first Chinese defence minister to attend the forum since 2011.

The US placed Huawei on an “entity list” on grounds of national security on May 16, a move that curbs its access to US-made components it needs for its equipment. The Department of Commerce alleged that Huawei was engaged in activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interest.

The Trump administration later issued a 90-day reprieve on its ban on dealing with Huawei, saying breathing space was needed to allow for software updates and other contractual obligations.

China’s commerce ministry last week said it will release its own list of “unreliable entities”. Gen Wei also defended the 30-year old Tiananmen Square massacre, saying it was correct decision for stability in his country.

“That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy,” he told the forum.

“The 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes… because of the government’s action, China has enjoyed stability and development,” he said.

Pointing out that he was at the Dialogue for the first times as China’s defence minister, Gen Wei began politely “I am here for mutual confidence, cooperation and peace. I am glad to speak on China and International Security Cooperation.”

China claims that Taiwan which broke away in 1949 is part of Chinese mainland and is opposed to any country having diplomatic contacts with Taipei.

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By PTI Updated: Jun 02, 2019 11:07:41 pm