The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged the US to stop forming small cliques targeting China, saying such twisted and narrow-minded mentality is not befitting of a global power.
The comment came after the US and the EU on Monday agreed not to escalate their dispute over US steel and aluminum tariffs and said in a joint statement that they can work together to "hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account."
Asked about the US and EU moves at a press briefing on Tuesday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that "how the US develops its economic and trade relations with Europe is its own business, but they should not use China as a pretext or even attempt to form a 'small clique' against China."
Zhao also offered a forceful rebuttal to the assertions in the US-EU joint statement over China's trade policies, saying such claims are groundless.
"I want to ask certain people, what is their basis for such groundless accusations against China?" Zhao said, adding that China does not pursue hegemony, conduct "long-arm jurisdiction" or unjustifiably suppress foreign companies.
The spokesperson also took an aim at the US' protectionist moves, saying that certain countries have arbitrarily taken unilateral trade measures, such as increasing tariffs and unilaterally obstructing the normal operation of the WTO Appellate Body.
"This is precisely the biggest distortion of the normal international trade order," Zhao said, urging countries to abandon zero-sum mentality and resolve disputes through talks on the basis of mutual respect and in accordance with relevant WTO rules.
As for accusations of China causing steel overcapcity, Zhao suggested that China has made concrete contribution to reducing capacity.
"We hope each party would take effective measures to safeguard the stability of global markets and trade," the spokesperson said.