China says will stick with US trade deal, but respond to ‘bullying’

China has reiterated its willingness to stick to the agreement despite recent US sanctions against Chinese officials and firms, said foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China said on Thursday (July 16) it will stick to the Phase 1 trade deal it reached with the United States earlier this year but warned that it will respond to "bullying" tactics from Washington, as relations continue to deteriorate.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying also invited US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come to China and visit the western Xinjiang region to see that there are no human rights violations, responding to Washington's sanctions and accusations of wrongdoing against the Uighur Muslim minorities who live there.

Relations between Beijing and Washington are at the worst in decades as they clash on multiple fronts including China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the new national security law in Hong Kong, trade and the accusations of human rights crimes in Xinjiang.

Washington on Tuesday removed special status designation for Hong Kong and imposed sanctions against top Chinese officials and companies over Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Beijing condemned the moves and vowed to retaliate.

The New York Times reported that the United States is considering a travel ban against all members of China's ruling Communist Party, a move that would further strain an increasingly confrontational relationship.

Ms Hua told reporters during a daily briefing that such a ban, if true, would be "pathetic." Asked whether the recent sanctions imposed by Washington will impact the trade deal, Ms Hua told reporters that China hopes the agreement can still be implemented.

"We always implement our commitments but we know that some in the US are oppressing China and bullying China," she said.

"As an independent sovereign state China must respond to the bullying practices by the US side; we must say no, we must make responses and take reactive moves to it."

"If the US thinks that everything China does is a threat, then it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Remote video URL

Ms Hua also called Washington's accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur minorities the "biggest lies of the century".

"We welcome him (Pompeo) to travel to our country and see what the Xinjiang people's view of him is," she said. "I could introduce him to some Uighur friends."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.