A senior Chinese official is warning that a trade war would hurt all sides and set off a "greater conflict."
"A trade war serves the interests of none. It will only lead to serious consequences and negative impact," Vice Premier Han Zheng said at a development forum in Beijing Sunday. "We believe trade protectionism, against the trend, will lead to nowhere."
Han did not mention the United States or President Donald Trump by name, whose announcement of stiff tariffs on imported Chinese steel and aluminum was answered with tariffs and duties on a list of U.S. imports.
Han appealed to all global trading partners to "cooperate with each other like passengers in the same boat ... make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all."
Fears of a trade war between the world's two largest economies have sent world markets tumbling.
The United States has accused China of unfair trade practices, including intellectual property theft and dumping Chinese goods on the global marketplace to make U.S. goods appear more expensive.
China has denied the U.S. charges, and Vice Premier Liu He told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a telephone call Saturday that China is ready to defend its interests.