"China does not want a trade war but we are not afraid of it. If someone brings the war to us we will fight it until we win", Geng Shuang told reporters at a daily briefing.
The statement follows the Chinese announcement on 13 May of its decision to hike tariffs on $60 billion of US imports starting in June. The country was responding to the latest round of bilateral US-Chinese trade negotiations which ended last week in Washington without any resolution and instead resulted in the United States introducing more tariffs on Chinese goods.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have been tense since US President Donald Trump decided last June to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a bid to fix the US-Chinese trade deficit. Since then, the sides have exchanged several rounds of trade duties. During this time, bilateral trade talks to end the dispute have been ongoing, but to no avail.