01:00 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Women walk by a fashion boutique displaying its advertising banner at the capital city's popular shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

    China Will Defend its Interests, Won't Set Timeline or Deadline for Trade Deal - Foreign Ministry

    © AP Photo / Andy Wong
    Asia & Pacific
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    Washington and Beijing have previously agreed to ink a "phase one" trade deal to put an end to the brewing trade conflict. However, the prospects of a breakthrough were dampened after the US introduced a Hong Kong bill which prompted China to sanction US NGOs and restrict the access of US warships and military aircraft to the autonomous territory.

    China is refusing to set any timeline or deadline for the trade deal with the US and intends to take the necessary countermeasures to defend its legitimate rights and interests, the country's foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

    The ministry added that any trade agreement has to be mutually beneficial and acceptable for both sides.

    "Our position on the trade deal is clear and unwavering. We do not intend to set any time frames on reaching the deal, because we want it to be based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. The deal needs to be acceptable to both sides", Hua Chunying, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, said.

    The White House previously announced that the "phase one" of the US-China trade deal is being prepared but there is no timeline of when it will be finalised.

    The world’s two leading economies have been engulfed in a trade war for over a year over what Trump deemed unfair economic conditions and non-competitive behaviour from China. China has denied such claims, saying that the trade row is not beneficial to either side and the world economy. The standoff translated into tit-for-tat hiking of tariffs in imported goods between the countries.

    Tensions further spiked after the US moved to introduce a Hong Kong bill banning the export of crowd control weapons to Hong Kong police and supporting demonstrators in the city. In response, China introduced sanctions against a number of US non-governmental organisations, including Human Rights Watch, and barred US naval vessels and aircraft from visiting the territory.
    Hong Kong has been gripped by violent protests since June. The demonstrations, initially a response to an extradition bill, continued even after the highly unpopular measure was withdrawn in October. Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the situation in Hong Kong is a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expressed full support for the local authorities.

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    US, deal, Trade, China
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