Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian addresses the media in Richmond Johannesburg on Wednesday after holding talks with the South African National Editors' Forum. Picture: Noni Mokati
Johannesburg - C hinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian says by promoting trade wars, the U.S has fallen victim to its own rules.  Songtian was addressing the media on Wednesday morning shortly after he held talks with the South African National Editors Forum in Richmond, Johannesburg.

He used the briefing to discuss the upcoming Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit which will take place in Beijing from September 8 - 21 as well as gains made from the 10th BRICS Summit held in South Africa last month.

Asked what his sentiments were on the increasing trade tensions between China and the US, Songtian said it was unfortunate that US President Donald Trump had changed the rules of engagement at the expense of other countries and emerging economies - all in a bid to "make America great again." 

He said in 1980 America had forced China to take up free trade and it was now changing its tune.

"They now suffer from their rules. Our (world) leader (referring to Trump) has changed the rules. The trade war has significantly affected trade and the everybody is paying the price," he said.

Songtian added: "What the US is trying to achieve is not only American first but American only," he said.  He further highlighted that there ware absolutely "no winners" in a trade war.

South African National Editors' Forum executive director Kate Skinner. Picture: Noni Mokati
The US and the Asian country have been embroiled in a trade impasse after the Trump-led administration imposed tariffs totalling $34bn  on imports from China.

China invariably hit back by announcing similar levies - a move by the two world's largest economies which experts have frowned upon for their potential to have a harmful and devastating impact on emerging economies.

Songtian said last month, BRICS leaders, namely South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, Brazil's leader  Michel Temer and Chinese President Xi Jinping had all been equivocal in their call for an end to policies that promote unilateralism, protectionism and extreme individualism.

"BRICS countries have come together strong to fight for the fair and just international order and to uphold the rule-based multilateral trading regime," he said. 

Meanwhile, Ramphosa will be heading to China next month for his first State Visit in the country. He is expected to hold bilateral talks with Jinping.

Jinping has already visited South Africa thrice and last month at the BRICS Summit, he signed 10 commercial agreements worth $14.7 billion which will form part of China's investment in SA.

The agreements include foreign direct investment as well as visa agreement Songtian hailed as important for tourism in the region.

Political Hub