China’s Xi says Beijing wants trade deal, can ‘fight back’

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing wants to work for a trade deal with the United States but is not afraid to “fight back.”

Reinforcing the upbeat tone taken in recent days, Xi told a visiting U.S. business delegation on Friday that China holds a ‘positive attitude’ toward the trade talks.

He reiterated China’s stance that a deal requires ‘mutual respect and equality.’

The latest flareup in trade tensions came after President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs last year on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese exports to the U.S., seeking to ramp up pressure for changes in Chinese trade and investment policies.

Xi told the senior leaders meeting at Beijing’s ornate Great Hall of the People that China is not afraid, but doesn’t want a trade war.

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