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China says it will defend interests if U.S. harms trade ties

BEIJING, Aug 15 (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday that it would take actions to defend its interests if the United States damages trade ties after U.S. President Donald Trump authorised an inquiry into China's alleged theft of intellectual property.

The United States should respect objective facts, act prudently, and not destroy principles of multilateralism, China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry)