"We certainly don't want to have any trade war with anybody, but people have to understand who started all this," said ambassador Cui Tiankai.
Speaking ahead of the official announcement, he said China would resort to the World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism.
"We'll, in accordance with Chinese laws, take measures to fight back," he said.
Cui's comments come after President Donald Trump's White House unveiled a list Tuesday of Chinese imports the administration proposes to target as part of a crackdown on what the president deems unfair trade practices.
Sectors covered by the White House's proposed tariffs include products used for robotics, information technology, communication technology and aerospace.
On Wednesday morning, Beijing then hit back with additional tariffs on 106 U.S. products. The new charges are targeted at goods including soybeans, cars and whisky. The effective start date for the tariffs is set to be revealed at a later time.