China ready to fight US on trade but door open for talks: defense minister
China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe addresses the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore on June 2, 2019.
AFP/Roslan Rahman
China ready to fight US on trade but door open for talks: defense minister
(Agence France-Presse) - June 2, 2019 - 10:44am

SINGAPORE, Singapore — China is ready to fight the US on trade but the door is still open for talks, the country's defense minister said Sunday.

"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 Fenghe told an international security dialogue in Singapore.

Beijing and Washington have been locked in a bruising tit-for-tat trade war, exchanging tariffs on $360 billion in two-way trade so far.

Wei is the first Chinese defense minister to attend the forum known as the Shangri-La Dialogue since 2011.

Washington and Beijing have been vying for influence in the Asia-Pacific region, which hosts potential flashpoints such as the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait.

Washington has been pushing back against Beijing's aggressive militarisation of the South China Sea, where China has staked "indisputable" ownership over almost the whole area and rejects partial claims by Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Beijing is also regularly angered by US and other warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait, which it considers part of its territorial waters.

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