Reporter: Mohammadin Agharkhil

China has pledged to fight back if US President Donald Trump goes ahead with his “irrational” decision to impose a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

Trump vowed on Thursday to slap a 10-percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports come next month, taking to a whole new level the ongoing trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.

Zhang Jun, China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, denounced on Friday Trump’s move as “an irrational, irresponsible act” and urged Washington to “come back to the right track.”

The Chinese diplomat also signaled Beijing’s preparedness to take countermeasures.

“China’s position is very clear that if the US wishes to talk, then we will talk, if they want to fight, then we will fight. We will never sacrifice our fundamental interests. We are not only fighting for China alone, but but we are also fighting for an open international economy, for free trade, for an open, nondiscriminatory, and reliable multilateral trading system,” Zhang said.

“We definitely will take whatever necessary countermeasures to protect our fundamental right, and we also urge the United States to come back to the right track in finding the right solution through the right way,” he added.

Possible retaliatory measures by China could include tariffs, a ban on the export of rare earth, and penalties against US companies in China, according to analysts.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer returned from Shanghai this week without reporting much progress. The sides both said they’d meet again in early September in Washington for the next round of negotiations.

Trump had previously threatened to impose 25-percent tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports, prompting warnings from Walmart and other major US retailers of a sharp spike in consumer prices.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly referred to China as the “enemy” who cost Americans jobs, spied on US businesses, and stole US technology.

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