Chinese President Xi Jinping said last week that he will not hesitate to retaliate against the U.S. on trade, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing sources.
“In the West you have the notion that if somebody hits you on the left cheek, you turn the other cheek,” Xi said in the report, according to people briefed on his remarks. “In our culture, we punch back.”
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have escalated in the last several weeks with the Trump administration’s planned tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and Beijing’s announcement of counter-duties. Last Monday, President Donald Trump said he asked the U.S. trade representative to identify an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for a 10 percent tariff.
Xi was speaking Thursday to the Global CEO Council, a China-organized group of roughly 20 chief executives from mostly Western multinational companies such as Goldman Sachs and Volkswagen, the Journal said. The council has previously met with Premier Li Keqiang instead of Xi, the report said.
“China is not going to yield to outside pressure and eat the bitter fruit,” an unnamed senior official said in the Journal report. “That’s the negotiation principle set by President Xi.”