China "firmly opposes" the Trump administration's plans for tariffs on Chinese imports and "would fight to the end" if a trade war were initiated by the U.S., according to a statement from the embassy in Washington, D.C.
"China is strongly disappointed and firmly opposes such an action," the statement said. "China does not want a trade war with anyone. But China is not afraid of and will not recoil from a trade war. ... If a trade war were initiated by the U.S., China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures."
President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive memorandum that would impose tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports, following a "301 investigation" into potentially unfair Chinese trade practices with the U.S. A forthcoming report from the U.S. Trade Representative covers 1,300 product lines, administration officials said.
The Chinese embassy statement also urged the U.S. to "cease and desist" and "avoid placing China-U.S. trade relations in danger with the purpose of hurting others that eventually end up hurting itself."
Trump earlier this month signed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.
As he signed Thursday's memo, Trump said, "This is the first of many" trade actions.