Chinese President Xi Jinping Says Trade War Forcing China to Rely on Itself, but 'It's Not a Bad Thing'

Chinese President Xi Jinping Says Trade War Forcing China to Rely on Itself, but 'It's Not a Bad Thing'
(Photo: REUTERS/Pool)

For Chinese President Xi Jinping, the reason why China is forced to rely more on itself when it comes to development is due to the rising "unilateralism and protectionism." He believes, however, that "it's not a bad thing," reflecting a determination to fight a protracted trade war with the United States if necessary.

Xi Jinping, who has become the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, said it was time for China to cut its dependence on foreign technologies and others in his first clear statement on how China would cope with the trade war.

Speaking from one of China's biggest state-owned factories, Xi emphasized the value of self-reliance, according to the South China Morning Post, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.

"Internationally, it's becoming more and more difficult [for China] to obtain advanced technologies and key know-how. Unilateralism and trade protectionism are rising, forcing us to adopt a self-reliant approach. This is not a bad thing," Xi Jinping said.

"Rising protectionism" is a euphemistic reference to the tariff conflict between Beijing and Washington." He adds, "Ultimately, China depends on itself for development."

Xi's comments came two days after Washington escalated the trade war by imposing tariffs on another US$200 billion of Chinese imports and China retaliated by covering US$60 billion US products with tariffs, Yahoo! News reports.

Trade talks originally scheduled for this week were called off as Beijing refused to talk when the US "is putting a knife to its throat."

The Chinese government on Monday issued a lengthy white paper blaming Washington for trade bullying against China and denied US allegations that China has been using unfair trade practices or engaging in "theft" of technologies from US businesses.

Xi Jinping made the comments during a visit to China First Heavy Industries, a state-owned machinery maker in Qiqihar of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang - a factory which can trace its roots to the early 1950s when it weathered China's worst economic days of isolation from the rest of the world.

Ding Yifan, a senior researcher with Tsinghua University's National Strategy Institute, said Xi's emphasis on "self-reliance" showed that Beijing was ready to dig in its heels.

"The spirit of self-reliance is the same as the old days," said Ding. "But the implications can be very different - if China can weather the trade war to secure a leading edge in technology and manufacturing, China will become number one and invincible."

Xi Jinping said China was a big country which must "depend on itself for food supply, depend on itself for economic development, and depend on itself for manufacturing."

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