China says the U.S. "has initiated a trade war," and Beijing isn't afraid to fight back

“This practice of extreme pressure and blackmail deviates from the consensus reached by both parties on many occasions and is disappointing for the international community,” the Commerce Ministry said.

“The United States has initiated a trade war that violates market laws and is not in accordance with current global development trends,” it said.

Beijing will respond by safeguarding the interests of China and its people — and defending free trade, the statement added.

No matter how the external environment changes globally, China will push firmly ahead with reform and opening up, the Chinese ministry said.