national unity@ (Updates with more details from president, quote)
MEXICO CITY, May 31 (Reuters) - Mexico's president said on Friday he would respond with "great prudence" to threats by his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump to slap tariffs on Mexican goods entering the United States, and called on Mexicans to unite to deal with the challenge.
Trump has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on June 10 if Mexico does not stop the flow of illegal immigration from Central America to the United States.
Speaking at his regular news conference, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would be in Washington tasked with convincing the U.S. government that Trump's measures were in neither country's interest.
Lopez Obrador said he believed that Trump would understand in due course that the tariff threat was not the way to resolve the matter and stressed that Mexicans had united behind his government.
"I tell all Mexicans to have faith, we will overcome this attitude of the U.S. government, they will make rectifications because the Mexican people doesn't deserve to be treated in the way being attempted," Lopez Obrador said.
In a letter responding to Trump's announcement on Thursday, Lopez Obrador called Trump's policy of America First "a fallacy" and accused him of turning the United States into a "ghetto" that stigmatized and mistreated migrants.
He had yet to receive a reply to the letter, Lopez Obrador said.
Trump's tariff announcement rattled investors who feared that worsening trade friction could hurt the global economy.
The Mexican peso, U.S. stock index futures and Asian stock markets tumbled, including the shares of Japanese automakers who ship cars from Mexico to the United States. (Reporting by Dave Graham and Stefanie Eschenbacher Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)