China's Ambassador in South Africa Lin Songtian speaking to journalists in Pretoria. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA

PRETORIA  - Beijing's top envoy in South Africa, Ambassador Lin Songtian on Thursday said that his country was not backing down in the ongoing "trade war" with the Donald Trump led United States which continues to escalate by the day, and is affecting several economies globally.

"We are calling on the United States to come out of the jungle and learn to live in harmony with the world. They must learn how to respect each other and equally. Their fallacy of racial superiority will repeat the tragedy in human history. We believe that people who cherish peace all over the world will by no means allow that to happen again," Lin said while speaking to local and international journalists on the sidelines of a symposium hosted by the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute in Pretoria.

"Now everybody is paying the price because of the so-called trade war launched by the Americans against China. Firstly, they broke the free trade order. They have discouraged economic confidence and sabotaged global economic recovery. Unfortunately, that war is not only against China but America has launched the war against everybody including Japan, the European Union, Indians, Mexico and everyone else."

Lin said Washington has departed from the principles of free trade and equality among people of the world it previously championed.

"Now we don't know how to follow America. It used to be our teacher, teaching China to open its doors, forcing our markets to be open and to do free trade. Now America has changed the textbook. They have changed behaviour. Now they want winner takes all. They like to benefit from every deal and unfortunately everybody including American people are paying the price," said Lin.

China's Ambassador in South Africa Lin Songtian speaking to journalists in Pretoria. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA


"They [Trump administration] have increased tariffs on all imports, and who pays the price? It's the American consumer. It's not only the exporter [to United States] who is paying the price."

Lin said Beijing was open for further talks with Washington and did not want the trade war to continue. He said however, his nation is prepared to give the US a run for its money.

"China's position is very simple...China is always open for talks. China does not want any trade war but China is not afraid of that and will fight to the end if we are forced to fight in order to safeguard the common interests of the people all over the world, and to uphold justice, fairness and rule-based free trade. China has no choice but to fight, to firmly oppose any form of trade bullying, unilateralism and protectionism. We have no choice but to fight," Lin vowed.

"If China compromises, and China is defeated, somebody will be encouraged to do whatever they like to do. The world will be chaos. That is why we have no choice but to fight. The trade war will produce no winner, we understand that. We are not fighting the Americans, we actually try to work together. We are are ready for mutually beneficial and win-win agreements with America after fair negotiation and consultation."

Rwanda's High Commissioner in South Africa Vincent Karega listening attentively at the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute addressed by China's Ambassador in South Africa Lin Songtian in Pretoria on Thursday. Photo: Jonisayi Maromo / ANA

Lin's media engagement was followed by a panel discussion attended by several diplomats including Central African Republic's Ambassador to SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries and New Zealand, André Nzapayeke, and Rwanda's High Commissioner in South Africa, Vincent Karega.

The Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute is an entity of the University of South Africa (Unisa) in partnership with the respected think-tank, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

- African News Agency (ANA)